If you have been keeping up with the Endurance Athlete Training Plan Series you will know that this is the third blog post in that series out so far. If you have not caught up on what I have been posting in the past please go back to my website where you can find the other two posts about what a training plan should include as an endurance athlete (runner, cyclist, triathlete, etc) and about testing/retesting intermittently as part of your training plan.
Today, I would like to talk more about the development of a work capacity or your ability to complete a task and your body responding well to it.
As we go through our day, we do a variety of things. In order for us to go through all of this, we need to have developed some level of a capacity to complete that work without feeling wiped out. When you do more than you usually do, you feel exhausted and you go to bed early, right? Then, why do people on January 1 as their New Years Resolution and do 10x that amount of work they are used to doing at the gym and then by January 14th or just shortly after or even way before fall off of the wagon? Usually because they do not ease into it. The way society currently sits is that we like results NOW and we want them yesterday (especially as New Yorkers). We want to have the perfect body or we want to be healthy immediately. Unfortunately, this is not how the world or reality works. It requires dedication and work...and it requires a strong WHY!!...Without a STRONG WHY for what you are doing, you will most likely fall very short of your goals and become disappointed with yourself or you will just project your frustration on the gym equipment or personal trainer instead. How many of you have felt like that? Where you don't get the results that you want in the time you want it?
Whether you are an athlete or an active individual or someone who just wants to be more active you have to be reasonable. If you have never ran a 50K before and you go try to run one tomorrow before you have even ran a marathon then you may be in trouble. If you have been someone who has been sitting at their desk and goes to the gym for the first time in years and does 2 hours of walking in the treadmill and the next day decides to do the HOTTEST DANCE CLASS in the gym...you will be in trouble too. Most people increasing their activity level usually set themselves up from failure. I will be the first to tell you that you are not alone and I am not perfect either. There have been many a time I have bitten off more than I can chew. I just go back and re-evaluate and attack it differently instead. There are many people like you though, so don't feel discouraged or ashamed or give up. As long as you have a WHY and a DREAM for yourself then continue to pursue it. Just be mindful the journey may be bumpy and not so straight lined. What is my point to all of this? When starting out in a new activity or getting to a new level in an activity you already perform you need to develop a base. If you do not have a knowledge of where you are currently then how do you know what your limits are. Once you know what is comfortable and what your limits in regards to function are, you can compare that to your goals and develop a plan around it. The development of a work capacity is involved in anything that we do. Whether it is getting out of a chair or going up the stairs, or running your first 5K. You have to start from somewhere. If you start taking the stairs at work to get to your office on the 5th floor, the first few days or weeks may suck and you may feel winded but as you continue to use the stairs over and over it gets easier. Now you have a new base or a new work capacity to build from. Maybe you go up those stairs faster and they make you winded but you continue to do so day in and day out. Eventually you are running up those 5 flights of stairs. That's what developing a work capacity is like. This principle applies to all activity we do in life...including maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise and sports. You still need to start from somewhere and if you have never run in your life you may have to walk and jog intermittently for a period of time before you are actually running...and that's okay!! The same thing goes for veterans who want to get faster in their 5k. They may need to do longer fartlek or tempo runs but also include more speed days. They may need to add more strength and muscle and less running. Everyone is different and responds differently to different stimuli. Until you experiment and try different things you may not work for you. But that is the fun in trying to become a better you. You learn more about yourself as a person and become a more well-rounded person so you can help someone else who is in your shoes but only weeks to months behind you.
Failure to develop an appropriate work capacity is generally the first thing that ends up leading to injury as you push your tissues to a limit they are not used to. When you continue to push muscles tendons, and joints to a limit far beyond their work capacity currently the extra stress and strain overexerts and leads to damage to the fibers of those tissues resulting in pain and inflammation. This can be your IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, patellar tendon tendonitis, etc. Making sure you have the basic ability to perform a task and then building from there is paramount. Being able to constantly grow and grow yourself a person along that journey to your goal is another thing you have to expect. Being the person you want to be is not something you can have tomorrow as "Rome was not built in a day". Learn about yourself and your limits and go step by step achieving smaller goals that will get to your larger ones. If you have found this post helpful, please share this one out to your friends or on social media so that others can be offered the same help that you have just received. If you are in need of becoming a better you and not sure how to get there whether you are an active individual or an endurance athlete please feel free to click the link below to see what is missing from your training p