Monday, April 1, 2013

Smart training

When you go outside for a run or go to the gym to lift weights, do you feel that you have to go hard for every workout?  While training hard once in a while does have its benefits, it’s more important to train smart.  For example, if you’re doing an interval workout on the track, you should know exactly how fast you should run to reap the benefits of the workout.  If you run too fast, you’ll add unnecessary fatigue to your legs without extra benefit.  For example, say you want to improve your maximal rate of oxygen consumption (VO2max), and you plan to run mile repeats at the speed at VO2max (near 100 percent maximal heart rate).  If running each mile in 6:00 elicits VO2max (and max heart rate), running each repeat in 5:45 will certainly also elicit VO2max.  But why run each mile in 5:45 when you can run it in 6:00 and still get the same benefit?  Running faster is not always better. The goal of training is to provide the least stressful stimulus that will elicit the desired adaptation.

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