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Dom Thorpe

Dave’s blog

Training tips for Parallel London by Dave Scates

A bit of background on me, I’m a freelance graphic designer living in Kent. I have a qualification of Level 2 fitness instructor along with an extra Level 3 in disability and exercise.

This was achieved with the help and funding though Instructability and Aspire. A course set up to train disabled people in the gym environment and become instructors with the aim to get more disabled people into sport and fitness.

I am taking part in Parallel this year to raise money for Livability who I’ve been involved with for several years.

Now onto training …

Variety is key
Training is important for getting yourself on track to be in good shape for the event but to keep it interesting and to get the best results we need to train in various ways. Wheeling endlessly isn’t going to give us the best results and will probably end up in overtraining of certain muscles. We want to maintain a good balance not only in our muscle groups but also between cardio fitness and strength.

Weight/resistance training for strength is great and anything that keeps your heart rate at an elevated level is going to help with cardiovascular fitness. It can be anything from wheeling out in a park to a hand bike in the gym. Swimming is particularly good for all around fitness so if possible try to get this into your regular workout. It uses so many muscles, is low impact and quite often forces good breathing habits opening up your lungs.

Power not just from arms; core chest etc
The muscles used to push a manual wheelchair are not only those in your arms, there is a lot of surface and deep core muscle involved. With this comes the need to make sure you keep the balance in your back to avoid injury and also improve stability. Pectorals (chest muscles) are play a big part for pushing a manual wheelchair also so not be forgotten when it comes to your resistance training.

Cardio and weights/resistance training
With a mix of cardio and weights/resistance training it will put you in good stead for an event such as Parallel London but even more so for day to day living and activities.

Stick to your own pace
When it comes to establishing how fast or slow to go you really have to listen to your body and gage how comfortable you feel. You don’t want to burn out too early so take it easy and build up to a pace that you feel comfortable at. Don’t try to keep up with the fastest athlete out there just because they make you feel slow. Slow and steady wins the race!

Listen to your body
If you’re tired and ache then take a day off for recovery. If you feel you have a bit of extra energy to burn then maybe try something you’ve not tried before or go for that extra wheeling session or lift that extra set? There are various ways to push yourself for improvement but rest really is key for recovery and progress when needed.

Rest rest rest
Rest is key for recovery. If your muscles are getting trained non stop they won’t have time to recover and you won’t benefit from any of the training you’re doing. Overtraining can be a downfall for many.

Alongside making sure you get enough rest you need to ensure you stay hydrated and eat well. Nutrients from vegetables and salad then proteins from various sources such as meats and pulses. There are many videos and guides out there to help with whats suitable and what will give you the energy to train well but also recover well.

Create a playlist?
Have a favourite song? Use it to give you that extra boost when things may be getting tough. Consider making a playlist that suits your pace for the event and could give you that extra lift near the end when things are getting hard. It will also help you maintain your pace if you’re used to training to the same music ensuring you don’t over do it on the big day.

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