A proper weekly workout routine has to answer two main questions.
What is it that I need to do this week that will challenge me more then last week?
Why am I doing what I am doing and how to I maintain sanity to get through it?
There has to be a set reason and that is why writing down your goals on paper can be a very helpful tool.
Sometimes seeing your goal, actually writing it down can help hold you accountable for maintaining your weekly workout routine.
It takes approximately 3 weeks for your body to physiologically adapt to the stress you are placing on it.
If you are like me and not much of a morning person starting back on an early morning weekly workout routine can be extremely challenging the first few days.
It becomes less and less difficult to get up early as the days and weeks go by. It takes times and even more patience but you will adapt if you give yourself a chance.
Here are a few tips I have found over the last 23 years of training (and one that is probably the most important I learned only 5 months ago that could drastically change your athletic life) and competing that I hope will be beneficial in your weekly training.
1. Set a goal and stick with it. If your goal is to run a 35 minute 5K time then that is what needs to be adhered to, week in, week out. Don't deviate from the plan. It is difficult to start a training routine, that doesn't mean it has to stay that way. Allow yourself the time to get adapted to what you are doing but don't half ass it. You owe it to yourself to give your full attention to what you are doing.
2. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is just as vital to running success as the workouts we do. If your putting all your eggs in one basket and not looking at all angles then why put in the effort at all. There is no need to half ass it if you expect extraordinary results. What we do the other parts of our training day will create the results we ultimately are seeking. There is no sense in going all in during your track and road sessions only to lose the gains you could have made had you taken your sleep more seriously.
3. Drink plenty of water. Water flushes out toxins, helps us lose weight, prevents cramps and boosts our immune system. Ingesting sufficient levels of water is a must for all runners. Simple, to the point tip that you cannot neglect.
4. Get out on the trails. Break away from the monotony of training on paved roads and tracks. Spice up your training a bit and take the less beaten path. You will challenge your whole physiology by training on different terrain and the ups and downs will make flat land running that much easier. A great place I go sometimes here in the Louisville area is Jefferson Memorial Forest.
5. Incorporate Plymometrics into your weekly workout routine. There was a 1998 study that was conducted at the University of Illinois which confirmed that by adding a polymeric routine into your training can not only improve endurance but also your VO2max (the maximum volume of oxygen your body can take in during exercise) and improve your muscle economy.
Our strength and conditioning coach had me doing box jumps, weighted sled sprints, push ups and sit ups, kettle bell drills, you name it, he made the marathoners do it. Strength training can only add to your overall strength to factor in that as you move forward. The body will adapt.
Easy vs Hard
6. Alternate hard running with easy running. You may know it as a fartlek workout but if you are new to rundreamchieve and just starting out in the sport, farlek means ‘speed play'. It teaches you to break the monotony of steady paced running forcing you to speed up, slow down, speed up and slow down. Personal favorites of mine are 10×3 minutes hard followed by 3 minutes easy or 30×1 minute hard followed by 1 minute easy but you can change up the workout anyway you like. It keeps training interesting so implement it into your training if you haven't already. Your body and results will thank you for it later.
7. Don't lose your sense of humor. Do your best not to take things too seriously. We all want results but if you lose the joy for what you are doing because you want to see them now will make an already challenging goal damn near impossible. You have to keep things light. What you are doing on a weekly basis demands a lot of your time and energy. If you have a poor workout at least you made the effort to get out the door and tried.
Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
You still got a physiological boost regardless if the workout or race went poorly or not. If you get pissed and feel like quitting remind yourself to relax, take a deep breath, got for a walk, read a book but don't let it eat at you. There is nothing you can do to bring that specific workout or negative area of your life back so focus on what you have control of, the here and now.
8. Eat foods high in glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant your body already produces but that you can easily run low on as well. Sadly, not enough runners know anything about it. Dr. Oz of the Dr. Oz Show calls it ‘the superhero of antioxidants'.
Many world-class athlete have discovered that well-maintained glutathione levels gives them an edge over their competition, bringing greater endurance and strength, decorated recovery times when injured as well as less fatigue and muscle pain – Dr. Jimmy Gutman, MD
This is probably the most important facet of your weekly workout routine you should consider. I have never heard of any runner or coach ever mention glutathione to me in over 23 years yet this powerful antioxidant has over 10,000 on PubMed written about it. I am hoping I will change runners athletic capacity and overall health by educating others on something I would have loved to have known about years ago.
Add Variety To Your Training
9. Add some variety to your running. Don't just run easy every day during your weekly workout routine.
Sprinkle in some hill training. For example, find a rolling course and go out for a challenging 4-10 mile run over that terrain rather then settling for an easy treadmill run. Have your ever tried pool running?
One of my personal favorites to get away from the stress on your muscles and joints. Go to the deep end of the pool and try pool running for 5 minutes, take a 5 minute break, then do another 5 minutes.
It is the closest things to landing running as you can get and there is no impact or stress on the body. Another great example is doing very short sprints multiple times.
Try doing 15×35 seconds at near sprint speed with 1 minute jog recovery. The ideas are endless with this. It is just common practice every runner should put into use in order to not get burned out or bored with their weekly workout routine.
10. You can still run sexy even if overweight. Overweight runners, don't let your weight dictate you taking actionable steps forward in your weekly workout routine. Act on your goal.
If all you can ask of yourself is 5 minutes of walking that is 5 minutes well spent. You took action, keep doing so and be persistent. Don't let up. Results come to the patient. The pounds will continue to be shed but you have to maintain consistency and stay tenacious.
11. Don't get discouraged. Avoid negative self talk at all times. Don't bash yourself if you missed your goal splits in that planned track session or you didn't finish the designated run you had planned in the time you wanted. There are worse problems in the world than when we don't meet our expectation in training.
It sucks but time spent beating yourself up about it isn't going to get you any closer to your goal. There has to be a plan of action and that plan should never contained undue stress that we place on ourselves. Focus on what counts and that is what was learned and the ways ahead to combat it from happening again.
There are no short cuts in this sport. It takes consistent action whether we have the perfect effort in training or we have a total disaster. You have to keep moving forward.
12. Set our your fluids every 3 miles along your long run route. I always do this, have done it my entire career. It doesn't matter if you are a miler or a marathon specialist, placing your fluids out before you start your run is just smart business.
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