Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Six Minute Solution

Since we have decided to race at Leadville again next year, I’ve been thinking about what worked in our training plan for 2009, and what tweaks I think we should make for 2010.

We were consistent with our core training in 2009 – and that paid dividends for me. I had no low back fatigue or strain – even after 11-1/2 hours on the bike. Note to self – keep doing planks & hip bridges and other back strengthening work on the Fitball.

We also consistently did a brief flexibility routine.

While that was helpful, I think that adding in at least one formal yoga class a week would really make a difference. Having an instructor to guide us through the routine, as well as demonstrate proper form, would allow us to get the most out of our time. I have attended classes at Vital Yoga in Golden off and on for over 4 years. I plan to really make an effort to attend at least one class a week in the upcoming season.

Strength training? We did some. The point for us is to build muscular endurance, not to bulk up. We’ll continue with push-ups (they really are the best full body exercise imaginable), rows, squats, lunges and wall sits (Phil’s favorite – NOT!). We’ll also add in a few plyometric exercises
to build power. [It is possible to modify some of the exercises to minimize impact on my rotten old arthritic knees.]

But this is what I’m most excited about: we’ll have lots of time for the core, flexibility and strength work, because we only need to work out aerobically for 6 minutes a week.

Okay, that isn’t exactly what the study found (if you have time, be sure to scan some of the reader’s comments – good stuff):

“In other words, six minutes or so a week of hard exercise (plus the time spent warming up, cooling down, and resting between the bouts of intense work) had proven to be as good as multiple hours of working out for achieving fitness. The short, intense workouts aided in weight loss, too.”

“There’s a catch, though. Those six minutes, if they’re to be effective, must hurt.” As if spending 3 hours on a stationary trainer in the basement doesn’t hurt??

I don’t think I’ll try to train for Leadville by working out on the bike only 6 minutes a week, but I do plan to incorporate more intensity and interval work into our overall training plan – balanced by some longer efforts to build endurance.

I’ll keep y’all posted.

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