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Fitness Buzz: Why? Because he can!

Posted Sunday, June 3rd, 0007 at 8:22 pm by David T in Healthy Bees. More in 10031

This article is from David Tacheny, founder of Performance Athletics, which is located on the Upper West Side.

About two weeks ago a long standing client (we’ll call him…Chris) texted me to say a friend had had a change of plans and he’d been offered a spot in the recent Brooklyn half marathon. He was wondering if he should take it. His only reservation was that, even though he’d originally wanted to do this event, he hadn’t been running as intensely this spring as he had in the past. I told him to pipe down and accept, immediately!  Although Chris’s concern about not having run as much this spring was somewhat valid, I was confident he’d be more than able to jump right in and have a safe, enjoyable run, even if his time might be a little slower than his average.

The reason I was so confident was because Chris has something called “base fitness,” which is a better term, in my opinion, than saying someone is “in shape.”  Having good base fitness implies a generalist position, one from which Chris can feel comfortable participating in almost any fun physical activity. Being “in shape” is more specific and implies that a person has done more conditioning for a specific activity. It’s certain, for instance, that Chris was running with hundreds of people who were in better “shape” for running long distance, but I doubt whether many of them had the overall dynamic strength and agility Chris and I have been working to achieve for him over this past winter and spring, as he enjoyed a full winter of skiing and is trying to put on a few extra pounds of vanity muscle.

So, how did he do and how did he do it?  A day or two after Chris texted me, we met for a personal training session and laid out a plan to prepare him for his run. We looked at his schedule and strategically decided which days he would run, which days he would cross train and which days he would rest. I re-tooled his regular cross-training workouts to be easier on his legs and we discussed some specific eating choices he could make to be sure he would be fueled up and free of upset stomach on race day. It wasn’t as though Chris was going to make huge improvements in either his speed or cardio capacity in just 10 days so we also worked in adequate time for REST, maybe the most important factor. Chris stuck like glue to our 10-day plan and texted me again about 11:00AM on Saturday morning. He’d broken his personal record by a big margin, and was already setting a new goal time for his next event!

What makes this such a success story?  My training guidance, Chris’s new personal record time?  Nope. It was successful because Chris had FUN and was able to do the race simply because he wanted to!  When an opportunity presented itself, to participate in a fun but physically demanding activity, Chris was able to “say yes and go!”  He’s not going to break any world 1/2 marathon records, and he’s not going to quit his day job and give up skiing or any other sport to try, but he will run, ski, paddle, climb, hike, peddle, swim, etc. any time he wants, because with good base fitness, he can!

*One disclaimer here.  If you’ve NEVER attempted a major athletic event, like a 1/2 marathon or a long bike tour, it would be seriously inadvisable to attempt to do so on 10 days training.  The point of this article is that Chris was only able to do so because he ALREADY had such solid base fitness.

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