As the New Year tick overs, the time for resolution begins. Many people choose the 1st January to kick-start their healthy lifestyle for the year ahead. Sometimes, it’s the 2nd January depending on how big their New Years Eve celebrations were.
But what comes apparent quite quickly by the number of people that book appointments to start seeing their allied health professional, is the amount of unplanned or uneducated training that is undertaken and leads to those aspirations being put on ice. For many individuals sticking to a progressive, holistic plan is all that may be needed in the early stages of your training or strategy to achieve your goal. For others a more in-depth look is needed to gain oversight of how you can achieve the best results from each session and enable you to reach those goals.
The first step is to write down you goal and place it somewhere you will look at it every day! The best way to do this is by following the SMART Goal principles:
Specific – be as succinct as possible, name the event ect
Measurable – have a measurable outcome (time, kg, cm, units)
Attainable – makes sure your goal is realistic
Relevant – makes sure it means something to you
Timely – set an end date
Example: I Jane Smith, will run the Melbourne Marathon on October 15th 2017 in under 3hours 31min.
Once you have your goal the next step is break down that goal into smaller goals and develop a strategy towards achieving those goals. For a goal such as our example “Jane”, a there is a lot that needs to be taken into consideration; training, diet, time management ect. Today’s focus will be on what you would need to consider from a training aspect of the goals you wish to achieve.
When drawing up a training program it is important to analyse the activity you are looking to participate in and understand what kind of training you need to complete to best prepare you for that goal. By analysing the activity properly you can begin to create a picture of what you wish to achieve in each individual training session, what you want to achieve by the end of each week and what you want to achieve in the lead up to each weigh-in, race, beep test or squat.
Important things to identify when analysing your activity should include;
- What energy systems are being used?
- What strength requirements are necessary?
- What movement patterns take place?
- What is the worse case scenario you may be placed under?
Regardless of the activity you choose to participate in STRENGTH training should be cornerstone of your planned training regime. The development of strength is a neurological adaption to the repetitive application of force. It is a key component when looking to develop POWER or ENDURANCE. Even a long distance runner benefits from spending time developing strength as it may help prevent injury, build speed and utilise energy systems which otherwise may be poorly trained.
Each training session you participate in should have a goal attributed to it.
For example: Today’s session is about increasing foot speed and agility
Once again SPEED is a neurological adaption and any training associated with increasing foot speed should be complete when an athlete is feeling fresh and not experiencing any perceived neurological fatigue. The concept of AGILITY is to change direction at speed, usually in reaction to stimuli. When training for AGILITY it is important to look at the factors which contribute to it as a principle, including; acceleration, reaction time and direction modification.
Each individual training session should include a 5 – 15min “warm up” period that is design to prime the relevant muscles for the impending session. If you are going to be completing an upper body strength session, there is no relevance to jogging for 10min on a treadmill – instead you time is much better spent completing body weight or resistance band activation exercises in preparation for your workout.
After the warm up comes the main body for the workout session. This may include a number of activities and in many circumstances the order in which these activities are completed can be important when trying to get the best results. As a very general rule the following should be obeyed when developing a training plan:
- Speed Training
- Strength Training
- Power Training
- Endurance Training
- The energy system that is to be trained at the time can be dictated by the amount of rest between tasks and type of tasks that are being completed.
A weekly training schedule should include a minimum of two strength sessions a week. Additionally, unless you are an advanced trainer most training sessions should have no less than 8 hours between sessions and in most cases should have as much as 24 – 48hours between sessions. This is important not only for recovery and adaption but to reduce the risks of injury as a result of over-training.
On that note make sure to include rest days in your weekly plan! Rest and recovery is when adaptions take place, if you are under trained and under nourished you may show little progress and at times may even regress.
This article has aimed to show a little more depth to a standard goal orientated program design may look like. There are entire textbooks dedicated to this subject and we have barely summarized an introduction of world of information that is available. Nonetheless, I hope this has sparked some interest in developing a program of higher quality for yourself when trying to achieve that goal.
If you find this information is going above your head my suggestion is to find yourself a certified strength and conditioning coach, someone who has superior knowledge in the application of these principles and have them train you or at the very least develop a program for you to follow right up to the day of your goal.
Until Next Time