Thursday, June 6, 2013

Program Building: Knowing yourself

I want to talk about how I build a training program for myself. And let me make that clear as spring water. This is how I lay out plans for ME. My approach is very specific to 1) my physical condition and 2) my running goals. This approach could be perfect for you, or it could put you in a world of painfully slow times (or worse, painful injuries.) It really benefits you to learn from an experienced runner, or even better, an experienced coach as you make a plan to suit your own body and personal goals.

First, know what kind of shape you are in. This is the surface stuff. I'm 52 years old, (but not for much longer!) quite a bit over-weight, and prone to fatigue and stubborn over-training. This is stuff I know about myself. Some of it is quite obvious, but some of it is the fruit of hard lessons learned from past mistakes.

One other thing: physical exercise and running in particular are the core of my treatment plan for my mental health. When I don't run, I get depressed. When I get depressed, I don't feel like running. And so the bipolar monster feeds itself.

When I stack all this data together, I come to some conclusions:
  • My program must involve frequent, moderate workouts that give me the emotional boost I need without wearing me out so badly that I have to take a long break to recover. 
  • Frequent recovery days are as important as workout days... maybe more so. 
  • I have a tendency to push myself hard, so I need a disciplined approach to workouts that allows me to test my limits without breaking myself down.

And that is step one in program building. Step two is a little more introspective. Why do I run, and what do I hope to achieve? I'll take a look at those questions in our next installment. Till then...

Eat clean, Lift heavy, Run hard, Sleep well.


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