Effective Strength

Heading back to the multidispline training has highlighted some flaws in my training over the last few years. That isn't to say my training hasn't been successful. Smashing my marathon PB last year clearly shows I got plenty right. The problems involve longevity issues.

The key flaw has been related to my strength training. There are plenty of aspects of my strength training that added to my run training. It has been time efficient. It allowed for limited disruption to run specific training. Plus it provided some direct benefit. The issue lies in the decrease of core strength and stability that has crept in over time.

As an area I believed I was addressing, it came as a surprise when I hit the water and bike again. Doing so highlighted how poor my core integrity had become. This was an element of training I used to consider myself very knowledgeable in and had been a personal example of what effective training could achieve.

The realisation it was now a weak point was fairly disheartening. A forced assessment of why this had occurred showed the value of hindsight. The short version is I was no longer performing any direct core stability/strength training. Just a handful of exercises that principally only targeted the rectus abdominus was thrown in at the end of other training. The limited effect of this training had been hidden because I had been able to hold together good running form in hard races. This was likely to more of a carry over of the direct run training plus the previous history of good core stability. I had now reached the end of that getting me by.

I outlined in Nuts & Bolts the template I was going to apply to my strength training. Over the last four weeks I have found some definite improvement. Some of it is simply because I am now swimming and cycling again, but the specific challenges to core stability are now being overcome better. In particular, the improvement has highlighted I was getting a degree of back pain and stiffness, especially at work. Now that is the pain is gain, I realise I had a lot more than I was prepared to admit.

Overall I am fairly happy with the original plan. It has given me some good results. As with all training it now requires a little bit of adjustment. Partly because I have improved my fitness, also because there is a slightly better way, and the changes should shave some time off the individual sessions. The changes won't be major, but exactly what they are I am still working on. Needless to say I am more on track with my strength training.


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