Those of you getting ready to run marathons know this little term. You chase it incessantly. Those who are trying to go further find it elusive and those who’ve got it feel on top of the world. What is it? How do I get it? Where can I find it? What is it? … Endurance!
Some people are made to run long distances but endurance doesn’t just come to those with good genes. We can train for it and build upon what you already have. Endurance is a term we use to describe how far you can go. Strength tells us what we are strong enough to move and endurance allows us to perform movement over extended periods of time.
When you ask your body to perform over an extended period of time, your body must effectively create energy. There are different systems to energy, and I won’t bore you, but when we ask our bodies to go longer we have to dip into our fuel sources. That is why it is so important to eat right. Your body will use what you put in. If you are trying to lose weight it is important to eat well and train long enough to ask your body to dip into your fat (fuel you’ve saved) stores. If you are planning to complete an endurance event it is important you fuel well so your body has what it needs to finish strong. Your brain also needs energy to function well, too. Endurance is physical and mental performance.
Are you one of those people who decides to do an event and spends the next few days on the couch whining about sore muscles and poor performance? We’d call you a weekend warrior! See last posting for more info on that, but if you want to feel great about your performance and know you did you best keep reading.
If you are preparing for an event think about what movements you must do to perform well in your activity. Maybe it is a 5k run, hit a home run, or par for the course. Maybe it’s a walk around your block, playing with the grandkids, or hiking with your children.
It is a great idea to train ahead of your event, outing, or race. You’ll be less likely to injure yourself and spend following days on the couch. Come to terms with where you are today in relation to where you were and move according to your current level.
Ø Practice movement patterns required by your event – break down your golf swing, run/walk, practice swimming strokes, etc
Ø Build up your endurance and speed – figure out how much time you have to train and incrementally increase your training to reflect how much time you have and how fast/long you want to complete the event at.
Ø Eat well – training isn’t just about exercise and movement. Eating right for an event gives your body the energy it needs to perform well. Hint: Eating right doesn’t just happen the day of or night before an event.
Ø Take breaks – your body needs time to rest while you are training. Make sure to take a day or two off (with active rest) each week.
Ø Be realistic in your goals – use your current fitness level and length of training time to determine realistically where you should finish. Choosing your high school track meet times may not be in your favor.
It is totally possible to compete at great levels as we age. Training and practice are a must – so once again I am telling you, “Get active, get in the gym, and get living”.