Friday, February 19, 2010

Mixing Up Your Training Routine

We have all been there, lots of training miles and some mental/physical burnout in our specific sport disciplines. Consistently training over a series of weekly training blocks is so important for the best opportunities for a strong race performance. There is the “fine-line” of being over-trained. Sometimes it makes sense to add some variety for a workout of two just to mix it up and keep the mind and body fresh. For example, after 16-20 weeks of training with a mix of intervals, long endurance days, hill climbing strength workouts (bike and run) it’s fun to change the normal schedule. This always happens to me when its 90 degrees (being on the east coast of course we have 90% humidity as well) outside in the middle of summer as sometimes it’s hard to keep the mental focus for another long weekend workout.

Personally I have found value in adding completely different routines just for a few days then get back to the focus of the race specific training. Like most athletes, I would much rather be outside training, but on those rare occasions when the motivation is low especially when it’s freezing cold/dark outside, at 4AM sometimes a change is in order. There are so many indoor cycling, running, core, strength training, pylometrics, etc. dvd’s that are inexpensive but can be added into the normal schedule for some additional variety.

The use of a combination of training aids such as the standard jump rope, indoor bike trainer and room for floor work is all that is needed to have a challenging and beneficial workout. Of course the bike trainer could be replaced with a rowing machine, treadmill, ski machine, etc. you get the point.

Here are a couple programs to check out that I use regularly and of course there are plenty of others: Cyclocore, CycloZen , RunnerCore, Spinervals, and of course the killer workouts from Insanity (the workouts have direct impact on my cycling power as measured by increases on the power meter – check it out) and P90X. If you have any workout programs that you feel have a “cross-over” benefit please email me as I always like to see what else is working for athletes, The following workout is one of my favorites, give it a try for some fun and variety when it’s one of those stressful workdays, brutal weather and/or you just need a change in the routine (even if you’re a runner and or triathlete, etc. there are good crossover benefits):

Cross Training Workout:

45 minutes of Insanity (pick any of the DVD’s) in the kit – they are absolutely brutal, you could use whatever you like that offers a full body workout with strength, pylometrics, power yoga, but needs to have cardio as a key feature

Followed by:

65 minutes biking on the trainer with the following set:
10 minutes at 75% target Heart Rate, minimum 90 RPM’s
5 minutes steady jump rope (use a mat for cushion to prevent shin splints)
20 minutes at 80% target Heart rate, keep up the RPM’s
5 minutes easy spinning
5 X (3 minutes big gear at 85-90%, 2 minutes recovery very easy spinning)

Followed by:

15 minutes snowshoe hill climb running repeats (for those of you who have snow!) Do a series of as many repeats (recover on the downhill) with a steep trail hill. If no snow, grab the trail shoes. I am not a huge fan of the treadmill, but you could easily do the same hill repeats on the treadmill with a high elevation setting.

Of course training outside is where we would most train, but don’t discount the indoor workout. If you plan it out with variety, it won’t be the same old boring workout (especially sitting on the trainer for hours!). The above workout will definitely make you “feel it” the next day and most importantly have fun!