Over the last few weeks we’ve been focused on providing a lot of tips around training and in essence, how you can better yourself as a runner. These articles have gone down so well, that we feel we need some more! One of our resident writers focused on coaching is Andy DuBois, who today provides us with his top 3 training mistakes. I’m sure there will be a few nodding heads to this one. Importantly however, it’s good to realise this and then make note of what you can do to help change your programs to get the best results. Take it away Andy…
1. Repeating the same exercise program.
The body adapts to training quite quickly. A new workout that you find extremely challenging one week will become noticeably easier the next week. This means that the benefits gained from the workout will be less with every subsequent workout. Within a few weeks the only benefit to be gained is to maintain what you have already have.
To continue to improve you must progress the workout to give your body a reason to change. This principle applies to everyone, whether you are just trying to tone up and increase your fitness or run a marathon. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old the same rules apply. You need to progress your workout on a regular basis, preferably every week.
There are many ways to do this and it depends on what you are training for as to which is best. To progress cardiovascular training you can increase the duration, increase the intensity, change the terrain or form of exercise, decrease the rest between intervals, increase the interval length or increase the speed. The best option is dependent on your goals (see mistake number three).
Simply doing a different workout each week isn’t enough. Your workouts should build on the gains made in previous workouts.
That is not to say that every week must be harder than the previous week. If you are training regularly then having a recovery week every 3-4 weeks where you still train but with less volume and intensity is beneficial to let the body fully adapt to the training load.
2. Not training outside your comfort zone.
To force the body to change it is necessary to step outside your comfort zone on a regular basis. Whilst some training sessions should be performed at a comfortable intensity there are other sessions where it is necessary to push yourself to ensure you receive the training benefit. This doesn’t mean you have to push yourself so hard you can’t move the next day. It simply means you have to take your body beyond what it is comfortable doing.
Stepping outside your comfort zone can get messy, you will sweat more, puff more, your muscles will hurt more and it will be harder mentally but for those that can embrace this the results will follow. I’m afraid there is no substitute for hard work.
One misconception people have is that it will become easier as your fitness or strength increases. Unfortunately the opposite is true. The fitter or stronger you get the harder you have to push yourself to force your body to change.
When people start a new training program often their initial enthusiasm can drive them to train at high intensity. As that initial enthusiasm declines so does the intensity of the training sessions. Ask yourself if your training feels as hard as it used to. If not it may be time to leave your comfort zone behind.
3. Non specific training.
If you are training for a goal then your training should be specific for that goal. Many people think that if an exercise works the muscle they want to strengthen or tone then it must be a good exercise for them. Unfortunately this isn’t true. Just because you feel an exercise work your triceps doesn’t mean it’s the best exercise to get rid of your bingo wings. Similarly just because your thighs burn doing squats doesn’t mean they are the best exercise to improve your running and the most common misconception is that doing crunches is good for your core or good for getting rid of your belly – it’s not. Ask a trainer or coach to make sure what you are doing will help you achieve the results you want.
The Ideal Training Program
To maximise the results from any program it should be progressing every week and designed specifically for your goal. You should also be prepared to step outside your comfort zone when the session dictates. If you follow these three principles you will be amazed as to what you can achieve.