Saturday, October 20, 2012

Train Before you Train

For the most part the season is over and the "off-season" is upon us (if there even is such a thing as "off-season" - it's more like a change in focus, rather than truly being off). I'm sure you've been thinking about the season to come in 2013. What races to you want to do? Do you want to qualify for something? Do you want to conquer a longer distance? Do you want to PR in a distance you've already conquered? The options are out there. It's up to you to decide.

Whatever your goal, you can help yourself right now by laying down a solid base. 'Tis the time of year for low and slow. You have to train to train, if you will. You have to train your body to get ready for the training that's coming and the best way to do that now is to keep your heart rate low and go slow. Of course, slow is a relative term based on each athletes abilities. The goal for this time of year is to build your engine to go long and to teach your body to burn the right kinds of fuel. By keeping your heart rate at 70 - 80% of your aerobic threshold you are training your body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates....we have plenty of fats to burn (about 80,000 calories!!). Through this process you are also building up your cardio system to work more efficiently, to get the oxygen to the tissues where it's needed.

What does this mean? It means that you're going to have to slow down. If you're running it may mean you have to walk/run to keep your HR down. If you're on the bike, slow down, switch to the small ring and/or lower your cadence. Over time you'll be able to go faster at the same HR.

You're going to feel like you're not accomplishing anything by going this slow. That's common. But you're accomplishing a great deal and it may be the difference between reaching your goal this year or not!