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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Endurance Training

As a Mother's Gift from my husband I received another set of training sessions with my trainer, Kris. This is something I really wanted! I don't need to do weekly sessions with her...just now and again to brush up on what I might have forgotten, increase the weights on what I am already doing but may not have challenged myself enough to do the increase myself, and to add new exercises. The idea is to keep me honest, keep me going and to improve my ability. At age 54 that is a lot to ask! I got a group of 6 lessons. My desire is to have those lessons get me through to the Fall. A couple lessons now to learn new things and then another couple in July to build on what I have learned from before....then a final two the beginning of September. At that point I hope I will get more lessons for my birthday! :)

Now that I have built up my overall strength with free weight routines since I started working with a trainer in January, I wanted to tackle the challenge of Endurance Training. An article on the Livestrong.com website (livestrong.com/endurance-training-exercises) comments that: According to the American Diabetes Association, endurance exercise training is associated with enhanced metabolic regulation in adults, which means that your body is able to more efficiently regulate your blood sugar levels and keep your energy levels balanced. Why wouldn't I want to achieve such lofty goals? Truthfully, my goals are more about being able to better enjoy a rigorous hike and to keep working on revving up my "slow as molasses" metabolism. But any additional benefits are certainly welcome!

So my goal is to add in endurance training. I want to continue to do my 3 times a week free weights routine. Then on the off days, twice a week, do the endurance routine. Yoga and cycling are for the weekend, and maybe a week night. This is a lot to keep on top of. It is beginning to dawn on me that to become a middle aged jock is going to require some serious commitment. I am noticing that time for workouts and exercise is not what gets bumped when you have other things to do. It IS the thing to do; all else takes a back seat. If I can pull this off...it really will be the new me!

Back to the endurance routine. At this stage it is actually very simple. By using interval training I will be building up my capacity and endurance. Kris has me working on the treadmill. I start at 3.5 miles/hr, warm up for a few minutes and then spike the speed to 4.6 miles/hour. I hold that speed for 1 1/2 minutes. I bring the speed back down to 3.5, check my heart rate and once my heart rate is back down to around 123 and my breathing is not labored, I spike the speed again to 4.6, hold it for another 1 1/2 minutes...and so on, repeating the cycle 6 times. The goal is to speed up the time between the intervals and also add on more intervals. Eventually I am sure the time at the high speed will also increase. Lots to work on! I hope no body part gives out as I pound out the intervals on the treadmill!

So far so good. I have only been at it for a week. 6 intervals is plenty for now but I know I can build up my capacity over time. I have proven it with my free weight training. We will see how it goes.