What is the importance of training?

Either due to natural talent or tenacity of spirit, many endurance athletes make tremendous gains in athletic capabilities without the benefit of a comprehensive training program. However, a training program geared to suit your needs can show you how to develop that natural talent to have you performing at an optimal level.

Where should you begin?

Before you begin or change your current program, discuss any limitations you may have with your doctor. Limitations, such as injuries, require a training program to be adapted or modified to suit your needs. If you have an injury, see a health professional to determine what that injury is – and how to treat it – before beginning or changing a program.

How do you know your limits?

Exercise is a stress. In most cases it is a positive stress, but it can be negative. Make sure that you understand the limits that you face based on your age, gender and other factors. Your past history of exercise has little bearing on today. Be realistic in your expectations. Also, recognize that heat, cold, and altitude change your body’s reaction to exercise.

What are the benefits of strength training?

Strength training helps to prevent injuries, but it has other benefits as well. Strength training can improve resting metabolism, help you to keep a stable weight, decrease body fat, and improve economy of motion during cardiovascular exercise.

What are appropriate considerations for strength training?

Strength training should be initiated approximately 14 weeks prior to a scheduled event. Heavier strength training takes place during the "off season" when cardio is in the maintenance phase. Find out what type of strength training is appropriate for you.

When performing strength training, keep in mind the following:

  • Do not do strength training the week of an event.
  • Do not begin strength training during heavy cardio training.
  • Remember that core strength is essential.
  • Concentrate on toning large muscle groups.
  • Build for tone, not for bulk.

What is the concern for overtraining?

Remember, there should be a balance between a high level of training and overtraining. Beware of the symptoms of overtraining. These include:

  • Psychological aversion to activity.
  • Chronic soreness.
  • Unusual fatigue.
  • Increased likelihood of injury.
  • Longer recovery time.
  • Mild depression.
  • Decreased performance in strength and/or endurance.

How do you pick a trainer?

When you are choosing a trainer, find out all you can about the person’s credentials and experience. Ask about the person’s education. Take a look around the facility and ask for demonstrations. A little investigation can go a long way toward helping you find the right trainer for your needs.

What are some myths about strength training?

The following are myths about strength training:

  • Endurance athletes should not be muscular.
  • Strength training will decrease my flexibility.
  • I don’t need to strengthen lower body because that is what running/cycling is for.
  • If I use the machines fast enough, my endurance will improve.
  • Strength training only needs to be done once a week.
  • I only need to strengthen certain muscles.
  • Strength training will just make me gain weight.