Friday, February 27, 2009

Marathon Training - The Gym.

Using a gym is an important part of any marathon training plan for a number of reasons. Many people are put off by the idea of going to a gym by thoughts of huge steroid fueled monsters, but they shouldn't be. Most gyms are frequented by average people, all there for a common purpose. The atmosphere can prove intimidating at first but you must give it time. If you join a gym for cross training, muscle endurance, general weight loss or to use the treadmill you will see huge benefits.

Cross training is an essential part of the modern marathon training programme. Often frowned upon by traditional runners cross training is vital for the runner looking for all round strength and fitness.

The gym is the ideal environment to achieve this. Cross training works very effectively if you move quickly from one piece of equipment to another, maintaining your heart rate at the correct level. Keeping your heart rate at the optimum level builds endurance and burns fat, but only if it is kept in the right zone for the right amount of time. With equipment in close proximity this can be achieved in the gym.

Not only is the gym perfect for the cardio vascular element of your marathon training, it is also the right place for muscular endurance component of it. Muscle endurance, which builds stamina in the muscles, is the type of muscle work that runners need as opposed to adding bulk and size which you don't need. Hamstring curls, leg raises, squats and lunges are examples of the types of exercise you should be doing. Adding this training to your marathon training programme will give your body more tone and less of the "classic runner" physique.

Marathon training in cold weather is a challenge no matter how motivated you are. Worse still are icy and snowy conditions when you shouldn't run at all. This is where treadmill training comes in. They allow you to stick to your training plan no matter how hostile the conditions are outside. There is no excuse to miss a marathon training session when you have access to a treadmill.

Treadmills can also help in the prevention of injuries. Pounding the pavements relentlessly can cause damage to knees, hips, shins and other body parts. The treadmill unlike the road, has significant shock absorption benefits which can minimize this impact.

Another huge benefit of treadmill marathon training is the availability of monitoring information. Running on the road can make monitoring more difficult unless you have a sophisticated GPS monitor, but with a treadmill the information is there at your fingertips. Furthermore, you can increase or decrease your pace immediately and know exactly how far you will run as a result.

To sum up, don't be scared or intimidated by the gym. Most people are at the same level and are focused on their own goals. Don't worry about what others are thinking and get on with your own training. Do this and you will take your marathon training to a whole new level!

For more Marathon tips and advice Click Here!


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  3. Building stamina in the gym is extremely important when training for a marathon or half marathon. Have a look at this article for some great stamina building tips: building stamina when training for a marathon