Here’s an old article I wrote for DPM magazine on whether or not you should bother training for climbing (click this paragraph). It’s a relevant subject for any weekend warrior, since we all have limited free time and probably get a lot more pleasure out of our favorite activity than we do from training. While this article target climbers, you could substitute “runner”, “cyclist”, “skier”, etc, change the examples, and you’d have a relevant discussion. I was reminded of it while fielding questions about sports training and, given it’s December, the time when many sport’s “off-season training” begins, it seemed quite relevant to post.
Here’s the gist, for those of you who are reading averse.
sometimes injury forces training
Essentially, most of us don’t want to train. As long as we’re healthy, and our sport gets us exercise, why should we bother? This is a very good question, especially if we are generally healthy. We really don’t need to train, necessarily, as long as we do enough exercise to keep our body from becoming overweight. However, we might want to train, no matter how “boring” it might seem, and here are a few reasons why.
All sports will, over time, create muscular imbalance, especially as we get better at them. This is even true for the most “balanced” sport of all, yoga. At its highest levels, you’re doing super stressful strength movements and, at some level, the prep you get from yoga alone isn’t enough. When you look at more competitive sports, like skiing or running, it’s exacerbated by a mile (or a hundred miles–stupid pun for emphasis). The faster you run, the more you need some outside training in order to both go faster but, more important, keep from getting injured. This is why all professional athletes do training outside of their sports.
indoor cycling, the pinnacle of boring but it can be useful
It’s also quite natural to want to get better at your sport. Training will accomplish this in a way that is both safer and more time efficient than just doing your sport. While this is not true when you first begin a sport, where learning technique is paramount, you eventually reach this point. This is discussed further in the article.
P3 vid, sports training at its peak. those who train here get better at what they do.
Lastly, we’ll look at aging. The combination of the above answers is more important when we look at the aging process. Our bodies break down over time. Sports create overuse wear and tear. Combine the two and you have a recipe for not being able to do your sport, and that sucks. Pre-emptive training strengthens these areas of weakness, anticipating the lifelong breakdown, and buys you more time to continue doing your sport. Train well enough and, unless you get injured randomly, your body will continue to support your sport for as long as you’re alive.