Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Training for a purpose

If you are like me, then when someone asks why you train you probably say, "Because I want to get fit." The question, have you every thought about what you mean by that? Do you want to get fit enough to run for the bus or to run a marathon?

Fitness is just like anything sells you set yourself to do. It needs a goal. It might be to lose weight, but you need to quantify that by saying how much weight and by when. My goals are actually quite simple. I would like to get my body fat percentage down to 20% (I'm normal for my age, but I'd like to be lower), and I'd like to be more tennis fit. Now the second of these is much more difficult to define. Do you express in terms of how long you can play for or do you find some other measure. In the end it's probably an endurance thing, but I'm not sure I  going to be able to make tennis fit into a smart goal, so I'll have to look at other things that contribute to being tennis fit and set goals for them. Perhaps goal number one is to read a book about tennis fitness and conditioning.

Another simple goal would be to achieve the recommended guidelines for a healthy heart, namely 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5-7 days a week. Two years ago, or was it three, I did my 100 day challenge (walking 10k steps a day for 100 days) and then I did my 500k steps in a month challenge.

All these little targets kept me going through snow and wind and rain. Now my goals need to be remained and reset to meet new challenges. For one, I'd like to be able to a suspended abdominal exercise on the TRX for longer than 10 seconds before I collapse in a heap!

The thing is, without a goal you are likely to just keep repeating what you always do in a pretty purposeless way. I now know that there are different ways to build cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and muscular strength.

I am not planning to run a marathon, although maybe next year we might get to do that 100Km walk challenge. If we do, then we will need a training programme. In the meantime I will keep experimenting with circuits and intervals, mixing them up to keep my training fresh and I promise I'll do some research about tennis fitness too!

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