Over the last year I have had an increasing number of endurance athletes coming to train with me at InnerFight. This crew are a different breed let me start by telling you that! Some of them are into Ironman (the more mentally unstable) others find joys in ultra marathons and I am sure you heard about Doris of Arabia’s recent crossing of 250km in the Sahara!
Yes they are a different breed of people but don’t be afraid of them. For the most part they have two arms and two legs like the rest of us. But what training do I do with them? Well that is at least 4 posts to answer that but in this post I am going to focus on the strength element.
The issue that I have found with this gang is that they spend hour on end running, on the bike or in the swimming pool. You can not fault them for dedication and the time they put into their sport, it’s off the charts. However by running and running and running you come to a point where you don’t get any faster. The same applies on the bike. Their goal? To get faster. What they need to be able to get faster is maximal power output which is directly related to their strength. Cue the strength programs that I put them through.
So they rock in all dolled up in their best Lycra with a wealth of training behind them but suddenly then are in a new environment and the body naturally goes into a state of shock. We check out there squat which in most situations gives me a million and one clues as to why they are performing as they are, not getting any better or stuck with recurring injury.
Each athlete is different and as always peoples abilities to do what I ask of them varies and therefore their progress and strength gains occur at different rates. As a general rule we see them 2-3 times a week and it takes 8-12 weeks to see big gains that convert into gains in their sport. For some people the first 3 weeks is spent correcting issues that have been caused by excessive participation in their sport in the first place, so it’s almost a case of bringing them into the workshop, stripping them down and building them up from scratch again.
The beautiful thing is that during the first 8-12 weeks we see many positive things happening to these athletes. Yes of course there is stiffness and a bit of ache and pain but they suddenly start to realize that they have only been using 60% of their bodies capacity and some of their biggest muscles are not working at all.
The bottom line is simple, we were all made to run as humans, it is something we just have the natural ability to do, some better than others of course. However those that want to run the fastest will not do so just by running, to make them the fastest they have to have strong muscles that can increase power output.
As for the other factors of performance to get these guys extra percentage points advantage over their competition…….we will hit them in other posts.
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