1. STAND MORE, SIT LESS
New research shows that prolonged sitting, literally takes years off your life. The bigger surprise is that even you are extremely active when you’re not sitting, prolonged sitting still affects your health. Besides taking years off your life sitting can greatly reduce your hamstring flexibility, cause shoulder tension, and weaken core stability, all of which are already huge problems with most endurance athletes.
To avoid these deleterious effects of sitting, I encourage athletes to set up their computer on standing or treadmill workstations at work (if possible) and at home. If you must sit consider sitting on stability ball that will force you to maintain better posture and engage your core. If for some reason you can’t do any of the above, simply sit as little as possible by setting a timer on your computer or phone that reminds you to get up and move around every 30 minutes. Just doing these simple tasks can provide some amazing benefits for endurance training.
2. FOCUS ON MOBILITY BEFORE STRENGTH
As stated in several articles on Fitegg strength training is indeed very important for endurance athletes. However, many athletes (including myself a few years ago) jump right into strength training without considering mobility or flexibility. This can quickly instill bad movement patterns and lead to injury. For this reason I highly recommend athletes visit a medical specialist for a head-to-assessment of their physical abilities. Another option is to meet with a personal trainer who is familiar with corrective exercise and functional movement that can give you some advice on how to mobilize your joints and work on muscle imbalances.
3. TRAIN WITH MUSIC
Research shows that you perform better when listening during endurance training (specifically running). Beyond having something to motivate and entertain you while your exercising, music can also be used as a mental trick. When you’re sprinting really hard on the track or up a hill for example, instead of focusing on the pain in your lungs and legs, you can focus on the music in your ears. Come race day when things are getting difficult, just remember that training day when you were pushing hard and listening to music, you will be surprised how well this trick works.
4. TRAIN WITH PEOPLE FASTER THAN YOU
Sounds simple but many individuals don’t realize how much you can benefit from training with people faster than themsleves. Training with individuals faster than you encourages (and sometimes forces) you to push yourself harder than you normally would alone. Additionally being in an environment of like-minded athletes provides an opportunity for you to learn a lot about endurance training and what makes athletes faster. If you can consistently train with people faster than you, you will quickly notice yourself passing people you couldn’t in previous weeks.
5. CONSIDER MENTAL PERFORMANCE
Since endurance sports are so physically demanding, little attention gets focused on mental performance. This is truly an un-tapped resource that can quickly help you achieve your goals. Consider meeting with a sports physiologist or experienced coach to learn how to overcome any mental barriers you have. Also take some time each week to completely “un-plug” from life and just focus on you and your training.