Last week I pondered about the place of cross training when working towards completing a half marathon. In my heart I knew that just running was not the complete picture and it seems that I may indeed be right! (yes I was a little surprised).
On a visit to our wonderful library on Saturday they had a display of ‘Olympic’ themed books, 2 of which were to do with training for marathons. I snapped these up sharpish and have part read one of them.
Image from Amazon!
The Key Requirements
I am not about to run a marathon but I figure that what works for a marathon will work for a half marathon. Indeed the last chapter is entitled ‘Workouts for Beginners and Fun-runners’. So it must be relevant? (Nowhere does it define ‘endurance’! ) In this final chapter is a list of the key requirements for endurance running:
1. A good basic aerobic fitness.
2. Good posture and running technique
3. Sound joints, mobility and suppleness.
4. Mental strength and determination.
5. A good quality of trainers.
It goes on to give a basic start-up running program. The rest of the book basically takes you through each of the key requirements
General Anaerobic Conditioning.
Anaerobic running produces pain due to a build up of lactic acid in the muscles. Michael A. Winch (the author of the book) recommends that one way to be able to deal with this during a race is to build up some tolerance to this. He also mentions that it is a good idea to experience this before a race so there are no nasty surprises! The ways to do this are thorough interval training, hill running and circuit training (amongst a few others.) Most runners will be aware of hill and interval training, indeed I credit a lot of my recent improvements to interval training. The one that I was particularly interested in was the circuits.
My interest in this is obviously that it is not running! Having done one of the circuits that he suggested last night I would suggest that it is also good for flexibility and the core muscles which are also given their own chapters in this book. He gives 2 basic circuits, the one that I did where you work through each of the exercises without a break and another where you repeat each exercise a number of times before moving on the next. So here it is:
Repeat the whole thing 4 times for the first session (I nearly ducked out after 3 but did persevere!)
2. Chinnies. 8 on each side.
image from womanworld.org
3. Full-arm body circling: 8 clockwise and 8 anti clockwise.
I spent ages looking for an image or video for this but could not find one so will do my best to describe it. Stand with feet well astride and arms extended above your head. You then sweep your arms around in a full circle, touching the ground and then back up to the top. Once you have done all 8 on one side, repeat on the other.
4.Narrow-stance alternate-leg split jumps 8 on each leg
Pictures taken from Peak Performance on line
If you start with action 1 (you do not need the pole) you bend down (action 2) and then jump into the air, swapping your legs around as you go. Repeat.
5. Alternate leg ‘V’ sit ups: 8 on each side.
6. Feet raised bench dips: 10
7. Full squat jumps: 10
8. Free twisting hyperextensions: 6 on each side
Image from here
The above picture shows the basic hyperextensions. The only difference with the free twisting ones are that you come up and twist to one side. Hold the position for 2 seconds then lower and lift again. This time twisting to the other side.
9. Free twisting sit ups: 8 on each side
Image from teamdropit
As in the above image position your arms across your chest and lie on the floor with your knees bent. Using your stomach muscles, sit up so the head comes up to the knees, twisting to one side. Lie back down and repeat, twisting to the other side.
So there you have it:
This is the circuit that I did and I have to say that it was a bit of a challenge! Could you do this? Do you think that it is worth it?
Please note: I am not a qualified fitness instructor and all the opinions are mine, I have nothing to do with the author or anyone mentioned in this post.