Coaching Myself – The Plan

Blog, Sue Cloutier

There are several goals that I am keeping in mind for this training period between actual marathon training cycles:

  1. Maintain aerobic fitness, minimize fitness loss as much as possible, or possibly even improve aerobic fitness without running, using various cross-training methods (ARC trainer, elliptical, cycling, aqua jogging, and swimming).
  2. Resting my bones while they recover from fall marathon training by not running.
  3. Strengthening various muscle weaknesses and imbalances, such as my hips, glutes, pelvic floor, and core.
  4. Lose about ten pounds to get back to racing weight. 
With that in mind, my plan for this training cycle is to do at least five hours of cardio cross-training each week to replace the time spent running. I will focus mainly on ARC trainer, which best replicates running motion, then elliptical and bike, and occasionally swimming and aqua jogging. Since I don’t have unlimited pool visits, I must use the pool judiciously. This recent study that I read suggests that elliptical workouts can help to maintain most running fitness, and I suspect that ARC trainer and cycling could also do the same. In fact, I believe that if I am able to significantly increase the time spent cross-training over what I would normally spend running, and incorporate scheduled high-intensity workouts, I may be able to possibly increase my Vo2 max during this time without doing any running.
I also plan to do several different strengthening exercises each week to work on areas of weakness, at least 3 lower body workouts each week, and at least 2 upper body and core workouts. I plan to alternate each day with upper or lower body workouts. 
Obviously, no running at all during this time period as mentioned above. I haven’t had any pain while running, but there is some slight tenderness if I press hard on my upper left tibia. I want to give this area plenty of time to strengthen before I attempt any more serious training. 
And lastly, I need to lose some weight. I don’t have a goal weight in mind, but I have gained 12 lbs since July, and I’m sure that has affected my running. Now is the best time to focus on cutting carbs and calories from my diet since I won’t be doing any running. I probably won’t cut calories too significantly though, as I will still be burning quite a bit with the extra cross-training, so I will play it week to week with the goal of losing around 1 to 1 1/2 lbs per week until mid-January, which should result in a loss of about 6 to 9 lbs, putting me closer to my weight from last summer. 
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