Train Short, Go Long

Grueling workouts are the only way to get ready for long-distance endurance, right? Wrong.

Apr 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

Want an easy plan to prepare you to climb a mountain—say, 14,494-foot Mount Whitney? Check out our five-week program that'll whip you into summit-worthy shape.

Half and half: have a life, but still have a game when competition calls.

IF A TYPICAL WEEK of exercise for you involves 60 minutes of perspiration every other day, pat yourself on the back. Why? Because that level of commitment puts you well on the way to running a marathon, biking a hundred miles, even taking part in a triathlon. You just need to step things up a notch and you'll discover an amazing little secret: Training for long-distance endurance events needn't be torture. The next level is within your reach, and getting there is easier than you think.

To prove our point, we enlisted three expert coaches to tailor a trio of training programs that will consume a bare minimum of your time but still produce race-day success. How does six and a half hours or less per week sound? That's pretty much all Sheryl Krohne, 50, a professor of veterinary ophthalmology at Purdue University, has devoted to her exercise program over the last three decades. During that time, she's finished four Ironman triathlons, run 20 marathons, and climbed both Rainier and McKinley.

Though you might be slightly less ambitious than Krohne, her example shows that, when it's done right, training for endurance events can feel less like a second job and more like a labor of love.