Planning My Training Part 2: Assessing My Needs

grayscale photo of man working out

When I wrote Part 1 of this series, I talked rather vaguely about my needs for my training plan. I knew what I wanted from my training in broad strokes. I even talked about my “needs,” but again, those are all discussed in very broad terms.

The thing is, you can’t make a plan with that.

Don’t get me wrong, it helps to know where you’re going, otherwise, how will you know which direction to go?

So, it’s time to honestly assess my needs. This will not be fun in the least.

Conditioning

My conditioning is in the toilet. Plus, to be fair, it’s the thing I probably need most right now. Don’t get me wrong, I recognize the role strength has to play, but at my current level of involvement, I can create enough power with proper body mechanics for what I need.

What I can’t do, though, is compensate for having an insufficient work capacity. Nowadays, this is called General Physical Preparedness, or GPP.

I, well, I have none anymore.

I’d love to give you all kinds of excuses about how the gyms shut down and I was bereft of access to the necessary tools, but it would be total BS. I got lazy.

Now, I’m at a point where I need to get my conditioning back up. The thing is, this time around, I need to be smart about it. While I enjoy running a great deal, I’m not sure long, slow distance is actually what I need. Fighting is made up of short spurts of all-out exertion. I’ll need a conditioning plan that gives me exactly that.

Strength Training

I’m not going to lie, I’ll still need to get stronger. While my conditioning went to crap, so did everything else. That includes any strength training.

So, I’ll need to develop a plan of strength development that won’t interfere with the conditioning element I’ve already identified as my priority. As a middle aged man, it ain’t easy to balance all of these things. Recovery has to be an issue, and that really starts with proper planning.

That means that yes, you can build strength and build up your conditioning at the same time. I’ve done it in the past and I’ve seen too many other people do it in the present.

Hell, Crossfit is predicated on doing both at the same time and there doesn’t seem to be an upper age limit for most of their stuff.

So yeah, it can be done.

Mobility/Joint Health

I’m not as young as I used to be. I don’t like admitting to that, of course, but we shouldn’t lie to ourselves.

I’ve been fortunate, though. In my 47 years, I’ve had remarkably healthy joints through most of it. Doing Starting Strength, my knees ached a bit, but I started taking some supplements that seemed to have helped.

But I don’t want to have to rely on supplements alone. No, I can take preventative steps to take care of my joints and connective tissue, so it only makes sense to try and make sure that’s a big part of any training plan moving forward.

And yet, this is actually one thing I’ve done remarkably little research on. I know I need it, but I really haven’t studied up on it. That’s very un-good.

So, guess what I’ll be researching in the coming days?

Sustainability

This is really the big thing that far too many programs fail to take into account. The headline reads “21 Days To Better Buns,” but what do you do on the 22nd day?

It needs to be a plan that’s sustainable for years if need be. I also need to be able to work in plans for inclement weather.

See, I don’t train in a garage or anything. I train outside. Sometimes it’s under a shelter, but sometimes it ain’t. That makes things…interesting.

So, I need to have backup plans for it being too cold or too hot or too hurricane-y. Backup plans are a good thing because if you don’t have them, you’re scrambling when things go to pot.

Not good.

Variety

Look, I’m ADHD. That’s not a joke, but an actual diagnosis. I need routine, but I crave novel experiences. That means variety needs to be part of the plan, preferably within a framework that allows that variety to be useful.

That’s easier said than done, though, because sometimes it’s easy to get complacent with variety because you feel like you’ve got things dialed in, only to see the wheels come off of everything a few weeks later.

No, let’s not go with that.

But where does this all lead?

Well, that’s the $64,000 question, now isn’t it?

(No jokes about me telling my age.)

Anyway, all of this means I have to work out an overall plan that addresses all of these needs, doesn’t create more problems than it attempts to solve, and can be followed for the rest of my life potentially.

No, no pressure here at all. None whatsoever.

Luckily, I think I have some ideas, which I’ll be working on for a post for tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Author: Tom

Tom is a writer from Southwest Georgia. His "day job" is writing for sites like By Spear and Axe, Townhall, and PJ Media. In addition to writing, he enjoys physical training, martial arts, action movies, and food.

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