training for YOUR goal

training for YOUR goal

"You can do anything, but not everything."

That's a quote from David Allen, which I saw this week on the Stepcase Lifehack website. It's perfect. It's an easier way to say what I've said a hundred times - You're only in shape for whatever it is you're in shape for.

This spring, when I was running multiple 10K's per week and training for up to 2.5 hours at a time in preparation for an Olympic-length triathlon, I wondered how it was possible that my dad had been in such great shape, yet he only ran 3-5 miles a day, with an occasional 10K thrown in. (And he ran so fast, 3 miles was less than an 18-minute run!) How can you be in great shape from an 18-minute workout?

The answer lies in what you're in shape for.

My dad was in great shape at what he was in great shape for. He could run at an extremely intense level for a few miles. His goal was to stay fit and healthy, and to run fast. He wasn't a marathoner, or a mixed martial artist, or a cross-fitter. But he was damn good at what he set out to do.

In the two months since my race, I've been putting most of my focus on cross-fit, and have hardly run at all. My goal has been to stay fit and healthy while I focus more time on my writing. I love the Fit-20 Workouts, and have seen quite a bit of improvement. I'm bigger and stronger than I was in May, and my threshold for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has gone up. I've managed to stay in shape while keeping my workouts pretty short. But...

Last weekend I went out for a 3-mile run, and it was HARD - much harder than I remember. I was slow. I was tired. I was flat-out out of running-shape.

Bottom Line

You're only in shape for whatever it is you're in shape for.

Pick your goal:
  • Lose weight
  • Be healthy
  • Get bigger muscles (chest, back, legs, shoulders, arms)
  • Get smaller fat (waist, arms, legs, back, face)
  • Be fast
  • Be strong
  • Run a marathon or half-marathon
  • Run a triathlon
  • Be a trail-runner
  • Hike all the mountains in your area

Once you know what you want to do, then set up a plan, then do it. If your goal is to lose weight, then the specific exercise doesn't matter too much - anything that gets your heart pumping and your muscles working is terrific. If your goal is to get bigger, endurance running won't help you.

You can do anything, but not everything.

-Chris Butterworth