When it comes to training

Even as a coach, I don't know if there is any real standard for training. But I know for sure that mine is definitely non-classic.

After a major crash-down in a 35k race in 2007, I completely change the way I used to train and went for the Phil Maffetone method and its 180-Formula. In short, this “180 Formula” enables athletes to find the ideal maximum aerobic heart rate in which to base all aerobic training to improve gait, speed and metabolism. I started wearing a heart rate monitor for all my sessions and at the beginning had to force me to run very slowly. I quickly felt better, improve my pace and could run much faster at the same heart rate. 

I also decided to go minimalist. At first it had little to do with conviction: a physiotherapist I knew well strongly advised that I do something for my feet. My toes were so numb that I could hardly move them separately. I already had a pair of Inov8 Roclite 315 that I used for trail running. So I started serious training with them. And it made a huge difference. No more injuries. No more blisters. And my feet looked good and felt clever (!) again! 

All theses changes did wonders on me and a year later I was 2nd woman on a 175k stage race. 
And I turned into a total fan of minimalist running and of the Maffetone method. 3 years later I was a certified trainer in both fields

My major issue has always been and still is overtraining. I am easily prone to it due to my many and various activities - I simply love doing things. I never stop! My life being very busy and active, it makes it hard for me to keep up with the training method I actually teach my clients! When I train for a specific event, I try as much as possible to stick to the 180-formula and can very quickly feel the difference. But it requires some strict planning and a certain amount of organisation! I recently decided to coach less people to focus more on my training and the preparation of my expeditions. And it feels good!

My typical training sessions? 

There are called Aerobic - on foot, bike or ski depending on the mood and season, Equi-run & ride, Walk & run, Up and downhill run, Endurance ride, the Tyre session (my friend Tyre-Lady Ice is an expert in the matter!), Recovery and Full-scale or in race conditions. 

I often combine the sessions to make my days realistic! One of my favorite is to the stables and return: 45' Tyre session  - 60-90' Equi-run (and/or ride) and 20'-45' Tyre. 

I used to give Krav-Maga classes (yes, I did - and it was good fun!). Now once a week, I give a class of Reshaping, my own mix of moves inspired by yoga, Callanetics and Pilates. In different ways, both disciplines greatly help staying flexible while building up one's core strength. A good complementary training.

And last but not least: once a week, I do...nothing. Or nearly. A gentle walk with the dogs, an easy ride. Just very easy. And that's very pleasant too :-)

Aerobic workouts

These are really the core of all my training. Going from 50' to much longer sessions, I do them on foot, running, power-walking or on the bike. During these workouts, I strictly stick to the Maffetone method: proper 15-20' warm-up; core of the session at my working Heart Rate Zone (134-144), 10-15' cool-down.
I have noticed that doing these sessions properly really help me getting stronger and faster. As I usually train with the dogs on the leash, it is however not always easy to do it properly and I have to be careful not to push too much, especially when running uphill.
The idea is really to get the metabolism works at its best, more efficient and using fat as its main source of energy. Phil Maffetone explains this at length in his books and on his website. It really works for me and I truly enjoy training this way. I am now kinder to my body than I used to be and am paying much more attention to the signs of tiredness or lack of energy it sends me. After all, it is my greatest friend and a work tool! So if I want to keep going the way I do, it is in my very interest to care about my body.
There are many variations around that workout and will probably mentioned some others in future posts. For now here are the main three that I have been doing lately:

Equi Run & Ride

This workout is one I have made of to combine my training with taking the dogs and horse out. It is usually an aerobic session but can be more demanding when trying to keep up with Ola on steep hills! I usually take my mare on the lead with or without the saddle and we set of for a 1.30-2 hours where I power walk, run and sometimes jump on her back for a canter. It really is a fun and convenient workout. Lately I have been doing it on a more regular basis as I am increasing my training load and don't have sufficient time to ride. To add to the fun, the backpack is also coming along now...!


I have started pulling a tyre on some sessions two years ago as I wanted to get stronger when running uphill. And then it turned out to be a great tool to get ready for winter races. I didn't have to wait for the snow to show up! Well, pulling that dead weight behind me was a bit of a struggle at the beginning: I could hardly walk up the hill behind the house without being quickly out of breath! But it got better and better, and now I am able to pull a much larger one for the same workout! I consider this session as a resistance workout and do it at least once every two weeks. When preparing for specific races where I need to pull a pulka, it goes up to twice or three times a week.   

Up & Downhill Run

 One of my favorite workout and also the easiest to do where I live: right at the foot of the Jura mountains. From my place, I can easily run for 1 to 2 hours uphill before heading back down. I try to keep these workouts aerobic too so I don't strain my body too much and recover much quicker while boosting up my metabolism. I love running downhill on these little rocky paths! The dogs love it too and we have some good fun out there!

Recovery sessions

Proper recovery is definitely a very important part of every training and I try to keep a good balance over the week. I do at least two recovery sessions per week. The two main workouts I consider and use as recovery ones are the following:

Endurance Ride 

Ola and I have started endurance races last year. These are competitions where horse and rider cover in-loop distances going from 20k to 160k trotting or cantering. As a beginner, one must qualify on short distances before being allowed on longer ones. We are beginners. We did only 20k and 40k for now... but we are very proud of us! Ola is not the typical endurance breed (mainly Arabian horses take part in long distance rides) but she loves it!
I base Ola's workouts on the principles of training use with endurance horses and once every week we go for a 2-hour trotting, sometimes longer. She really enjoys it and it is an easier session for me. But let me tell you that the first time I trotted and cantered for 2 hours non-stop, I felt damn sore the next day!
This year my priority is the Nordkalottleden expedition. So no endurance competition planned. Nevertheless I keep training Ola as she might need to be fit for the next one...

Recovery Run or Walk

This is the workout I do when I feel tired or need to recover from a hardest or longest sessions. I also include walks with family and/or friends in this category. The principle is a low intensity workout of variable duration.


Ah the Full-Scale session! I love that one! Here I pack my full gear - these days it is the 12kg-backpack - and set of for a day or two (more when the agenda allows it). It allows me to test various things, like the gear, the food, my personal equipment, etc. Lately I have been mainly interested in the dogs' reaction to long training sessions and nights out. There will definitely be more posts on these trainings as they are in my opinion the most interesting ones!
Training Training Reviewed by Rachel FB - The Striders on May 25, 2015 Rating: 5

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