Set a Training Schedule and Follow It

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Set a Training Schedule and Follow It

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Set a Training Schedule and Follow ItLet me give you a little cautionary tale about why you need to set a training schedule and stick with it.

I set the topic for this post a couple of months ago. I figured I would tell you to use all of your belief (this blog's theme for January), discipline (February), and motivation (March) to follow through on your training schedule. Believe you can do it, have the discipline to do it, and keep motivating yourself to do it . . . and you can't lose!

But then a humbling thing happened: I didn't take my own advice, and at the end of March I bombed on my first attempt to run a half-marathon.

Learning the Hard Way

To be fair, I almost made it -- about 12 miles out of 13.1 -- but when I hit the wall, I truly hit the wall. For the first time in my life, I couldn't even walk purposefully toward the finish. I had to stop, stretch, and sit down to rest several times before I got there. Please don't even ask me how long it took.

In my pride, I thought I was good to go. I thought I had done enough work. Two weeks before the big day, I finished an 11-mile training run and felt great. My nutrition was good. I thought (incorrectly, as it turns out) that I had taken in enough fluid. I mean, it's not like I'm a novice at running . . .

. . . but this experience reminded me that, yes, I am a novice at running 13.1 miles at a time. And I didn't follow my training regimen all the way. Among other things, I learned the hard way about:

  • Adequate hydration. I thought that drinking 40 ounces of water and Gatorade during the run would be enough. Given my body weight and the temperature, it probably should have been 60 ounces -- and I certainly should have drunk more water the day before.
  • Getting the muscles loose. I've used a foam roller on my leg muscles regularly for years, but I realize now (after hard cramps in my right calf ended my big run) that I didn't do enough to get loose in the week leading up to -- and especially the few hours leading up to the run.
  • More shorter runs. I did great with my long training runs on the weekends, but for several weeks in February and March I let my work schedule hijack the shorter midweek runs where I should have built up my "base mileage." My legs just needed more miles on them.

Hard lessons, but well-learned now. 

Inch by Inch, If That's What It Takes

There are world-class weightlifters who attain massive strength by adding tiny increments of weight to the bar each week . . . but who persist at that for years on end. Similarly, you could work your way up to running virtually any distance by tacking on an extra quarter-mile at a time to your longest runs.

It's a lot of little things, but you have to do ALL the little things along the way. This is especially true if, like me, you're not a kid anymore. There was a time when I could stack on mileage with no trouble. My legs never bothered me, and as long as I didn't go completely crazy with my pace, I would always recover quickly. But I was half the age I am now, and reality has set in.

So, what do I do now? Keep building up my strength and knowledge, bit by bit. I'm taking all the lessons I learned from my botched run and channeling them into my next big run. And in particular I'm redoubling my focus on the details of my training.

As I see it, there are two ways to truly fail:

  • Don't learn from your mistakes.
  • Don't try.

I've got those two licked -- so now I truly can't lose.

What training regimen are you following right now?

How are you coping with setbacks?

PREVIOUS ARTICLES:

Don't just work out: TRAIN.

Is Your Pride Holding You Back From Success?

Reset Your Resolve

Tim Walker, Life Balance Guest Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services Tim Walker

Tim is a writer, marketer, and social media pro living in Austin. He joined CareOne's blogging team as a contributing writer for the Life Balance blog in 2009. As a blogger who has personally overcome debt challenges, he draws from his own experience to provide tips on living a balanced life and keeping fit. You can read more of his thoughts (on fitness and everything else) at his personal blog, What I've Learned So Far. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Tim on Twitter; @Twalk or follow us by clicking here!

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  • I know I could never run good without the right breathing pace ,Usually two in one out and two in and two out for more fast paste runs but once I find my comfort zone I can run at a fast pace for some distance and slow to a jog to catch my breath if need be . with a run and a jog w the same pace breathing I can run as fast and as far as I want. Breathing seems to be the biggest part of running seeings how the lack of oxygen to the muscle is also a big factor in the body cramping. Thank you for your input .you are truly a great person. keep on succeeding. Greg Ramirez

  • I daily start my day with a morning walk, taking a morning walk or run isn't just an incredible method to work out, but it can also begin your day on the right foot. It gives you that "personal time" that establishes the pace for the whole day and gives you a motivating raise.

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