TRAINING WITH PURPOSE – by Kevin Howell forTri & Run
For years my running consisted of the dreaded “30 minutes of cardio” at the gym before or after my weight training. Forcing myself to step on the treadmill, plug my head phones in, change the channel to sportscenter and clog along for 3 miles until I could sprint into the showers. Of course at that time I had no idea what VO2max was. I didn’t understand what my lactic threshold was. I was unconcerned with the heart rate monitor that was on every machine. I was simply trying to burn calories so I could obtain the lowest possible body fat to show off my biceps and pecs. The only only thing “run” and “fun” had in common was the “un”.
After a recent withdraw from the gym scene and the resulting gain of around 50lbs of pure fat I decided to get active and healthy again. This time though I decided to forgo the dumbbells and hit the road. I didn’t have high expectations but I had a thought. ”What if I enter a race?”. So without any training I found 5k trail race a couple weeks away and set out to find a way to finish it.
Running suddenly became fun. My fitness levels increased quickly and I had no problem finishing the race. in fact finishing strong. My first thought when I crossed the first finish line of my life was “when is the next one?”. It turns out the next one was the very next weekend and I have raced every weekend and often twice per weekend since.
You can only imagine what I have learned through this process. From when to time your pre race bathroom time to start positions, proper warm ups and nutrition. The most important thing thought is the purpose to my training. So many of us think of training in terms of “miles”. Log the miles and you will be able to finish whatever race you like. I can’t tell you how many runners I cross paths with every day. Of those runners, finding one who is running intervals or hill repeats is like spotting a Giant Panda in the wild.