Winter Cross Training: Week 1

Tomorrow we begin Week #1 of a special five-week winter training regimen for distance runners. As I mentioned earlier this week, this regimen is in anticipation of the Ottawa Marathon this coming May.

For the purposes of this five week regimen, I will assume that none of us are in particularly great shape. Perhaps we work out three times a week or so, but nothing major.

Build the Fitness Base
The goal of this regimen will be to build up what I like to call a "fitness base." This concept is a bit analogous to what we runners call an "endurance base."

A runner's "endurance base" is a level of cardiovascular fitness built up prior to taking on a serious training regimen. While building up an endurance base, a runner virtually ignores other aspects of fitness, such as speed or resistance training. The purpose of the endurance base is to provide an endurance "foundation" upon which greater speed and longer distances can be built. Serious, competitive athletes often rack up as much as 100 miles per week while building up their endurance base. In anticipation of training for the Ottawa Marathon, I too plan on building an endurance base.

However, before I can do that, I need to ensure that my muscles and joints can handle that kind of exertion. If I jumped straight to the endurance-building, I would risk pulling a muscle, or developing tendinitis or shin splints. Perhaps more importantly, my upper body and core muscle groups would have completely atrophied by the time I was ready for the race, and things wouldn't go well.

So, to prevent injury and ensure total body health, I intend to dedicate this five-week period toward building up, not an endurance base, but a general fitness base.

Week 1
We are just getting back into the swing of things. We may have taken some time off during the Autumn months, and so we are aiming to start off somewhat lightly and work our way up over the course of five weeks.

Week 1, therefore, should be relatively simple. Here's what I am prescribing

A-Day (Sun, Tue, Thu)
Morning Workout: (Do all of the below four times)
  • 50 crunches
  • 30 push-ups
  • 20 rear-deltoid raises (light weight)
  • 30 unweighted squats
Evening Workout:
  • 20-40 minutes light cardio

B-Day (Mon, Wed, Fri)
Morning Workout: (Do all of the below four times)
  • 20 dead-lifts with hand weights
  • 20 bent rows
  • 20 bicep curls
  • 30 lunges (15 per leg)
Evening Workout:
  • 20-40 minutes light cardio
Rest Day (Saturday)

Don't take on too much weight for the resistance exercises. Just do what you can do. The goal here is just to get into the swing of things. If you're finding it hard to get up in the morning, just try to focus on getting used to the routine. Don't kill yourself here. Just take pleasure in moving your body around.

I'll post Week 2 next Saturday.

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