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Crossing the line

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Athletes train year-round for the physical strain put on them while competing in triathlons and marathons

Tamara Kelly
Staff Writer

For many runners there’s no better feeling than making it across the finish line and knowing they’ve given their all.

Pushing themselves beyond the limits is part of the internal drive they have.

Competing in marathons can quickly change into a passion for runners once they’ve sampled their first race.

Proving to themselves they have what it takes to finish an event is usually the motivating factor when it comes to long distance running.

Marathons have a wide range of participants, from the first-time runner to the seasoned athlete.

The type of marathon can also vary, whether it’s running for a cause or when running is the cause. There’s variety in the clothes runners wear, the shoes they have, and the calories they count. But one constant in all these variables is the need for preparation time.

From the beginner to the expert marathoner, a set training schedule is needed when planning to run in a marathon no matter the distance.

Having a designated time each day for running is a motivating force towards the goal, along with having a healthy routine that fits the needs of the athlete.

A schedule needs to be tailored to the runner’s condition and experience when planning an individual’s training program, keeping in mind training will build endurance, skill, and confidence, with every step.

As the endurance and stamina of the runner builds, the workouts need to be adjusted. A varying range of long runs, slow paces, and speed intensity gradually boosts an athlete’s ability to meet their target goal.

Having a running group or coach can also be an option for increasing the chance of success.

Although coaches tend to be expensive, using an outlined training schedule from a specialty website or a structured performance book can break down some of the detailed approaches for success.

Remaining diligent and focused towards finishing the race is the real enjoyment and fulfillment a runner feels from the experience.

Shutting out the cynical thoughts and putting a stop to the limitations that arise is a key element for running. “Just do it, don’t think about it. It’s a love hate relationship. It’s empowering.” Denise Arnold says.

After a marathon, the natural progression for most runners and for many that next step is triathlons.

Most know triathlons as having three sections swimming, biking, and running, but according to Arnold, there are four parts to a triathlon. The fourth event is transitioning. Moving from swimming to bicycling takes a certain amount of finesse. Many triathletes practice the transition process in order to navigate through the zones with ease, reducing their time as much as possible.

Triathlons typically have four levels of intensity: Sprints, Olympic, half iron man, and iron man.

Triathlons are held around the world, giving athletes a combination of challenges in locations, terrain, and weather conditions.

Popular triathlons fill up quickly, usually within the first hours of registration, forcing many to plan well in advance to reserve a spot.

Many athletes take the two-on, one-off approach towards workouts.

Running daily, but switching adding swimming or cycling in their everyday workouts. Also making sure to take one day off completely for resting tired and sore muscles.

Training workouts for a triathlon commonly happen in three stages, focusing on each section of the challenge.

One type of schedule plan for workouts is building an eighteen week challenge for the preparation time.

A more complete layout of the training plans is notably detailed in Outside magazine in their August, 2008 edition.

This schedule structures the training into three stages.

Stage one – committing to a schedule.

Stage two – focusing on building endurance.

Stage three – shaving off time by upping the intensity of the workouts.

Each stage is accomplished in a six week time period, giving the triathlete enough time to be prepared for their upcoming race.

This schedule layout also can be translated into marathon form.

Whether it’s marathons or triathlons, having a planed training schedule is a must in executing a successful race. Keeping focused on the end result is also a valid point Professor Denise Arnold holds fast to while in the thick of the challenge. She said,

“I’m not an athlete, I’m out there putting one leg in front of the other,” Arnold Said  making every step count as she crosses the finish line and feels a deep sense of pride for her accomplishments.

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The student news site of Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington.
Crossing the line