Well, I am nearly 2 months into the new training program and already feel a real improvement.
For the last three years my physical training has comprised almost exclusively of weight training, Cross-fit and little else. I've definitely enjoyed it and if I'm honest when living in the Middle East indoor training is really the only way to go for year round consistent exercise. On such a program with an objective of gaining weight (hopefully in the form of muscle), lengthy sessions on treadmills and bikes are avoided and there is very little you shouldn't eat. I managed to gain 12kg and was proud to finally crack a 500lb dead lift.
Now with an entirely different objective, I have adopted a training regime of cardio 6 times a week and Strength/Core routines twice a week. I am basically looking to trade muscle mass/strength (to some extent) for endurance. So, I began with a short jogging route along the beach and sure enough within a week was confronted with chronic shin splints. For as long as I can remember I have been notorious for going out too hard too early on a new exercise program often resulting in a frustrating and totally avoidable injury. Under strict instruction from my Physio to stop running, I moved to the Stairmaster in the gym where I've spent many hours climbing a seemingly endless staircase.
On weekends I have been heading out of Muscat to a small hill known as 'Saal Steps' for a hike.
My coach initially scheduled hikes with 45 minutes of ascent and Saal Steps was perfect for this duration, however as I became quicker and he scheduled longer hikes, I am now having to climb and descend 3 times (1200m vertical) to get the required workout. So, I'm on the lookout for taller hills. Definitely a good sign.
All the workouts are done with a target heat rate of 140-147 beats/min with nose breathing only. So I am not all that talkative on a hike while powering up a hill with my mouth closed. The idea of this is to build fitness in the Aerobic zone and improve the bodies ability to move oxygen and use it more efficiently. This will really help when climbing high on a mountain and there is a whole lot less oxygen around to breath.
So the training continues, hopefully I can maintain the routine through the holiday break and not succumb to the 'Christmas/ New Year Effect'.