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Multi-stage ultra-endurance events are becoming more and more popular. These events place an enormous psychological and physiological demand on your body and really push you to the limit. Here are some quick tips if you’re thinking about tackling an event next year.
As I write this blog, we seem to be rapidly heading towards the end of the year and you’ll no doubt be starting your winter training ready for next year. Although most of us approach those cold, wet winter training sessions with a sense of foreboding, this is arguably, the most important phase of your training. It will help lay those strong foundations for you to build on as the new year and spring arrives.
Over the month or so, I’ve been struggling to shake of a cold and chest infection. As we become more involved in our chosen sport, we are often driven by key performance variables such as increasing our strength, running pace, functional threshold power and maximal aerobic capacity. However, we sometimes overlook the fact that months of hard training, commitment and preparation can be set back by illness.
Mass endurance events like marathons are a great opportunity for recreational athletes to compete on the same stage as elite athletes. Everyone taking part shares the prospect of hitting the wall at some stage in the race. From a physiological perspective, hitting the wall occurs because your body’s stores of carbohydrate are unable to provide the energy required to maintain the current pace. This is due to muscle glycogen depletion and low levels of blood glucose. Hitting the wall is characterised by a drastic reduction in running pace of around 30 seconds per mile for elite athletes and 1-2 minutes for recreational athletes. It may mean that some people end up walking because they simply do not have the energy to go any faster.
It finally feels like we're saying goodbye to the winter. The evenings are getting lighter and the spring sunshine is getting warmer. Whilst this warmer weather makes training a lot more bearable, it does present some challenges for long distance endurance athletes. Even this early on in the year, it's easy to underestimate how quickly we get warm when exercising. It’s important to remember that keeping cool is better than looking hot!
For anyone running a spring marathon, you should now be reaching the ‘business end’ of your training and no doubt starting to have a real mix of emotions. As marathon day becomes closer, you’ll probably start feeling a mix excitement and apprehension as you start to analyse the effectiveness of your training. It’s perfectly normal to have these doubts and this is something that is common among first-timers, seasoned marathoners and elite athletes alike.
For endurance runners, the ‘weekend long run’ tends to be taken for granted and its benefits are often overlooked. Although it may not be as sexy as a fast-paced interval session on the track or as physically demanding as hill reps, there are a number of good reasons why these long, slow sessions should form the bedrock of your training.
As we head into peak #marathon training season, there may be occasions when your #endurance #training is reduced or temporarily stopped due to injury or bad weather. Although training adaptations are reversible and may result in reduced performance when training resumes, it’s important that you don’t panic.
For many of us, January is a time to begin increasing our training in preparation for spring/summer competitions. To be successful in sport, training should be structured in a way to optimise performance. Training programs are defined by volume (how much), intensity (how hard) and frequency (how often). These variables determine the way your body adapts to training.
Christmas is over and the New Year celebrations are just beginning to wear off! As we approach the beginning of January, you should be starting your marathon training if you haven’t done so already. For those of you new to marathon and half marathon training, here are some of my initial thoughts and suggestions: