by Ed Arntson July 19, 2017

Fitness woman doing abs crunches

Are you adapting/adjusting your training schedule or program? 

Good afternoon from Virginia Beach. 

Today I would like to talk to you about adapting and adjusting your training plans. 

First - adapting.

I’ll assume that most of you have a 9-5 type of job that requires you to spend a good portion of your day at your office/job site. For those of you that don’t, some of this will still apply. 

What’s the busiest day at work? Fridays? Mondays? Let’s pretend it’s Monday. What type of training do you have dialed up for Monday morning? A long run perhaps, or maybe a soul-crushing interval session. Is it wise to perform one of your most demanding training sessions on one of the busiest work days of the week? 

We all know that those tough training sessions - which are so valuable to building towards your race or training goal - take a little something out of you. It takes a little longer to rehydrate, you may need to eat a few more calories that morning to get going, and that late afternoon hunger might arrive at 2 PM instead of its scheduled arrival time of 4 PM. 

Can you adapt your training around your work schedule?

I would submit to you that most people can do this. I believe a lot of people dogmatically look at a 5-6 day training plan and assume that, “It’s GOT to start on Monday because I start work on Monday!” Maybe you don’t do this, but I think there are a lot of people who do this. Can you perform your demanding session on Sunday morning and then maybe catch a 20-minute nap in the afternoon to help you recover? At a minimum, maybe the most taxing thing you’ll do after that session is play with your kids or do the dishes…you’re probably equipped for that. You may not, however, be equipped to crush a demanding day at the office after that challenging training session. 

When I was a Brigade Operations officer at Fort Hood, I always knew that Mondays would be busy - extremely busy. My training session most Mondays? An easy 4-5 mile run and some core work…a solid session, but nothing that would sap me for the rest of the day. 

Now onto adjusting your training. There’s a difference between adapting to your lifestyle/work routine and adjusting your training program based on how you feel and trying to optimize performance during key training sessions. 

There are a lot of great fitness programs out there…a lot of great programs that will help you prepare for a race of almost any kind. Many people, especially those new to training for a big race, will follow those training plans lock step all the way to the end. 

But what if you feel like crap on Wednesdays after challenging sessions on Monday and Tuesday? You might need to look at adjusting your training on Mon or Tues so that you aren’t crushed. This is especially important for athletes with a high training age or athletes that are a little older and perhaps don’t recover quite as quickly as they used to (even with Perfect Amino in their kit bag!!). 

Use your common sense. Even if you haven’t done a serious training program before, trust your instincts. This can be tricky because you can’t just shuck off hard training sessions with the persistent excuse of, “well I just don’t feel right today…” That’s just being afraid of hard work and I certainly don’t support that, but I do support training hard AND training smart. 

Here's an example

I am training for a 9-mile race in September. I have been out of the longer distance running game for some time now. Work demands and my training goals did not have me running much over 5-6 miles at a whack. Now I am running much further than that. My original program design (I designed it…) had me running intervals on Thursday and then running tempo work on Fridays. I used to do this quite often and felt great. Well….now it doesn’t feel so great on the old hamstrings. Ripping 10 x 400 on TH and then running 4-5 miles of tempo work on FRI left my hamstrings feeling like they had been through the ringer. 

So I adjusted. Easy. Put the easy, low impact cardio session on Thursday, between the two difficult sessions and roll from there. In this case, I overestimated the recovery time I would need from my long run on Monday mornings and then subsequently overestimated my recuperative powers following the interval training. 

ADAPTyour training to best fit your work/life routine. ADJUST your training - if you need to - to maximize your gains and optimize your performance during key training sessions. 

Keep on crushing. 

-Ed 

Ed Arntson
Ed Arntson


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