We may lose our top end speed as we age but our endurance can continue to improve by leaps and bounds. With people trying to stay fit and healthy longer, it is no surprise that the number of participants in endurance sports is on the rise. Marathon participation is at an all-time high and many have even taken up ultras for added challenge. Others have gone into multisport such as Iron-distance triathlon to test their limits. If you are considering a transition yourself, it would help to pause for a bit and make much needed preparations.
Schedule Workouts Around Existing Commitments
Perhaps the biggest demand on endurance athletes, aside from the enormous sustained effort, is the length of time they would have to devote to the whole project. There are no shortcuts when it comes to physical development. You have to build your aerobic base to be fit enough to tackle the courses. This means lots of long runs that can last as long as 3 hours or even more. You will have to train almost every day while working on different aspects of your fitness. Triathletes have to figure out how to get their swim, bike and run in throughout the week. Having a coach is a big boost. Sit down with him or her and work out a schedule that respects your existing commitments.
Ramp Up Gradually and Avoid Overtraining
Just the knowledge that you will be tackling enormous distances in races can push people to the edge. They stress about their workouts and worry whether they have done enough. There is a tendency to add more and more miles to quiet the mind. This often leads to overtraining, burnout and injuries. Remember that the best strategy is to get to the starting line fresh and healthy. To do this, be sure to ramp up gradually and listen to your body. Start your training cycle early so that you don’t feel any need to rush things.
Eat Enough to Fuel Your Training
Training will cause you to burn a tremendous amount of calories. You have to make sure that you are eating enough every day to replenish what’s lost. Treat food as fuel and try to make better choices. You are unlikely to have any problems regarding quantity as endurance athletes really need to eat a lot. But consuming junk food will not be beneficial. Opt for high quality items like fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed food, especially those that have extreme sugar and salt content.
Rest Promotes Better Performance and Longevity
Although it is important to train hard, remember that rest is also a crucial part of the equation. Structure your workouts to include easy sessions that let you accumulate miles on your legs without tiring you out. These should comprise about 80% of your total volume, with the remainder being dedicated to quality high-speed sessions. Schedule a rest day once a week or so. If you feel particularly tired or have noticed a pain developing, then take the day off to give the body the break it needs.