Tuesday 21 October 2014

Now is the time to get back into your fitness routine

Catherina McKiernan

Published 26/08/2014 | 02:30

As the children return to school, you have more time to focus on fitness

Summer can be a time where people do a lot of running, cycling and different exercises. They enjoy being out in the warm weather and feeling the heat of the sun on their backs.

This summer I took a little rest from the running. I did a lot of hard races over a period of six months and with the children off school it was an opportunity for me to recharge the batteries.

The summer holidays went by very quickly and I realised, more than ever, that it is the simple things in life that children enjoy the most. We spent some great days at home in Cavan and the children played around with their cousins the same games as we use to played when we were growing up.

It brought back great memories for me seeing them running around the freshly cut fields.

Unfortunately, the summer holidays are coming to an end and it is back to the school routine. It is also a time for me and possibly a lot of you to build up your fitness level again.

Base training is the most important phase for endurance athletes. It is a time to get yourself physiologically, mentally and emotionally ready to go to the next step of speed work and harder running.

To build a good aerobic base, you should train only aerobically. This means that during the base-building phase of your training no anaerobic sessions, like speed, intervals should be done; this would jeopardise the efficient development of your aerobic base.

You are just building miles, letting your body get acclimatised and building endurance. By providing a solid foundation of aerobic running early in a training cycle, the right base training can ensure that you run consistently at a higher level. When you are running at a slow pace you can focus on technique until it becomes a habit.

Volume is the focus during this period and you can accumulate some fatigue in your legs that you would normally try to avoid during more race-specific stages of training. It is a good idea to do three weeks of good volume, and then have an easy week. Recovery is a key part of a training programme.

I would advise people to have a six- to eight-week block of solid mileage with a long run and some 150m strides mid-week, to stimulate the fast-twitch muscle fibres. This allows you to gain strength and stamina before starting your next phase of training - speed-work. Like the children going back, to school this can be a time for you to get back into a your fitness routine. I am looking forward to meeting up with my friends and clocking up some leisurely sociable miles.

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