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Want to Train Well? Follow These Rules


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No matter what you do, the rules of adaption apply

By Alix Shutello

For some reason, I happen to have an 18-month day planner from when I was in graduate school at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  The calendar goes from September 1991 to December 1991.

I have not changed my calendaring habits at all really. I still, even though I have an iPhone and electronic calendars, keep a paper calendar (Franklin Covey) to write in things. As a Type A list maker, I like to write things down and rarely forget things because I do.

As I flipped through the pages of the calendar I was nostalgic looking at what I did my first three semesters in graduate school.  I noticed that I wrote things then as I do now.  Though I didn’t write the name of the race down, I picked up a race packet on September 29.   As I moved along through the calendar I wrote down everyone’s birthdays, including one instance of a dog’s birthday – the dog wasn’t even mine – so there you have it.

I concluded short runs with 100 meter pickups, met with friends like Rhone, who migrated to DC before I did to take up his passion in the solar industry. There are phone numbers from the guys I dated (and the ones I wanted to), of lovers past, and friends who I never saw again after graduation day. 

I wasn’t only running. I was taking Karate and swimming in the mornings.  There are highlighted dates of exams, meetings with professors, and meetings for class expeditions like in February 1991 when we met to do a day trip at Cranberry Lake in the Nifkin Lounge.  My thesis abstract (on whether plants could grow in different types of landfill ash) was due on Tuesday, February 26, 1991. 

I even wrote down when I attended my friend, Zulma’s brother’s graduation from graduate school in May of 1991 and when she and I went to her home country of Puerto Rico for three weeks.

I cross trained too – I belonged to Bally Total Fitness (still do, but I only pay $60 year, so who wouldn’t) and went to aerobics and weight classes. On other days I recorded that I was both biking and running…..I know I did my first bike race at some point (and got absolutely crushed). I played tennis and rode horses (ah to be young again).

What I found most interesting about my calendar what I wrote in the notes pages in the back.

And I quote:

Max V02: Max vol. of 02 that a body can transport to your muscles.  The higher your max, the more 02 your muscles receive, the greater your endurance.

I went on….quoting Russel Pate, PhD, University of SC.

“Systematically expose your system to gradually increasing amts. of exercise stress”

“In order to induce an adaption, you have to force the system to do something it’s not currently used to doing.”

I then went on and wrote a couple of workouts down.

It does not matter if I wrote this stuff today or 100 years ago – the rules of running remain the same:

1. Take 3-5 months to build a base
2. Increase you distance 10% per week
3. Every 3-4 weeks, drop back distance for recovery
4. Cross train
5. Incorporate speed work, intervals, and recovery

Notice I wrote recovery twice; for adaption does not happen correctly unless you allow some rest in your schedule and in your workouts.

Now off you go!


One thought on “Want to Train Well? Follow These Rules

  1. Alix, I am the Director of Marketing & Sales for Fit Pro Milk. You had contacted Brad and he forwarded your site to me. I really like it. Very “real” good advice and articles. Please give me your contact info so we can discuss posting our product or some articles on your site . Thanks, Dawn Loberg

    Posted by Dawn Loberg | August 7, 2011, 3:01 pm

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