We all know that correct training will improve fitness. Sometimes this fitness is an overall improvement (when you run for the bus, you don’t feel quite so out of puff after a few months of training) or a specific improvement (running a quicker time for your usual 5km circuit around where you live).
Unless you take a holistic approach to your training (cardio and resistance; cycling and running etc.) you will always be stronger in certain things over others. This doesn’t mean that your overall fitness is lacking, just specific fitness. Doing the same workout each time means you get bored relatively quickly, but it also means that you might be neglecting certain other areas of fitness which are vital.
We usually find this out when an injury occurs, which prevents you from doing what you always do.
I know runners who struggle to find other ways to train when an injury occurs, finding cycling a much bigger challenge than they first thought. They have fantastic running fitness and overall fitness, but transferring this fitness to a new discipline takes a while (and this can be really frustrating).
Professional athletes will have a training schedule that is mixed – sport-specific training, general endurance, strength and conditioning etc. – working on the whole fitness package, rather than just concentrating on their particular sport. If we take this approach, an injury wouldn’t always spell the end of exercise for the duration of recovery (depending on the severity of the injury, of course). Adding basic strength exercises into a runner’s training schedule; having one session on the cross trainer in the Gym, rather than always relying on the bike; adding a swimming session in for active recovery for someone who lifts heavy weights – the possibilities are endless.
Entering an event is a good way to mix up your training, and it just means tweaking your existing routine to build up your endurance in another area. Changing the way you train, even in the short term, will help you in the future should an injury occur.
One of the main reasons why people give up on an exercise regime is boredom and lack of time – if you find your training enjoyable, you’ll carry it on in the long term.
If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut with your current training, or need a bit of advice, please feel free to get in touch.