The last weekend runs of the year are times for observation, reflection and the mental penciling-in of training targets for the new year. My first draft took place about six months ago.
I'm a coach. I want to set the example.
Pete, this week's run companion, hasn't finalized his plan in macro. He knows he wants to do a few half-marathon distance races; he'll most likely spend a lot of his weekends doing the same thing most other local runners do here: Hop from weekend 5K to weekend 5K. I guess that's not a bad way to be when your goal is to stay active in your later-fifties.
It didn't surprise him too much to hear I have three target races this year (a 5K, a 10K and a half-marathon), especially when I still am "on-the-mend" after years of ignoring overuse injuries. What surprised him was to learn eighty percent of my training mileage is indoors on a treadmill, especially the higher intensity work. Once my strength work and cross-training is factored in eighty percent of my training volume (when measured in intensity) comes from treadmill running.
When the infinitesimal variances between treadmill running and road running are removed I believe it's the most time-efficient way to train. How can a guy go wrong with pace discipline regardless of the individual workout's intensity level? And if things go wrong and the first nagging injuries begin to rise up there's always the "STOP" button. I have a treadmill at home, plus access to the machines at the local gym where I do my cross-training and strength training.
The iron-pumpers at "Fit-O-Rama" have become quite used to the sweaty guy blowing up their cardio machines. I've run into a couple as they're flying to shows and we're going to races. It's a mutual admiration society of a sort. My gym is in an expansion project, just in time to accommodate the yearly (temporary) population explosion. The first two months of the new year finds nearly every fitness center filled with folks I've come to describe as "resolutionists." These folks (suddenly) wake up on January first and resolve to get fit. I could go into the philosophical ramifications of such a statement (refer to S.M.A.R.T. goal-making), or even the folly of setting themselves up for abject failure on or before March first. While I've never asked health club managers or sales persons, I'm certain they cringe as folks come through the door the day after New Years', fill out their yearly contract and are almost always never seen again.
A couple of years back my wife (former fitness studio manager) and I talked about what a forward-thinking fitness studio owner could do to truly enhance the health and wellness of their newest customer. When it comes to guys it seems to be no big problem; throw them on the weight and cardio machines for two weeks and they're certain to see a slight change. Some will be stoked at the outcome and stay at it. Others might become disappointed.
Women, on the other hand, are a longer-term project. Few realize that it will take at least six months of consistent workouts to show anything beyond the most rudimentary cardiovascular fitness. Fewer women still are pragmatic enough to realize that they did not arrive at the state of fitness they are presently at over the course of six, nine or twelve months. So what can a chick do to make the best of the first - difficult - months of a training routine?