Last week, while in Florida for EXXXOTICA, I was presented with an interesting, and unexpected challenge. Running.
In the past I ran several times a week. It was a cornerstone of my cardio and conditioning program when I competed, and performed. And later, as an adult athlete, I took on road races, from 5 – 10 km.
And then… I stopped.
I don’t know why really. Perhaps it was the wear and tear on my body. Or maybe I was just bored. I know one thing for sure, while I gave up running, I definitely (as you know) didn’t give up on fitness. Running was merely replaced by other methods of training, including plyometrics, and cross fit.
But last week, in the sun and humidity of South Florida, I suddenly found myself in the company of people who like to run!
And so… I ran.
On the first day, I walked a 1 mile trail with new friends Kelly & Scott, and then ran the trail at a comfortable pace.
The very next day I ran 5 miles, at approximately a 9 minute mile pace.
Now, I want to point out that this was a very steep curve in terms of getting back into running, and I don’t suggest beginners take on the sport from scratch, at the same rate as I did. Lucky for me I have a lifetime of fitness training behind me, including muscle memory, and some pretty good genetics too. I’m also related to Canada’s number one female marathon runner – but that’s another story ;)
As exercise goes, running is an excellent source of cardiovascular conditioning. For a breakdown on the fitness facts of running, check out my earlier blog post “Run For It”
Most Learn To Run clinics begin with the same basic premise: Walk before you can run (literally).
Week 1: 30 seconds on, 1 minute off, for 20 minutes
Week 2: 45 seconds on, 1 minutes off, for 20 minutes
Week 3: 1 minute on, 1 minute off, for 20 minutes
Once you have your run and recovery time equalized, it’s time to work in reverse!
Week 4: 1 minute on, 30 seconds off, for 20 minutes
Week 5: 2 minutes on, 30 seconds off, for 20 minutes
Week 6: 5 minutes on, 1 minute off, for 20 minutes
The reason for the jump at 6 weeks is that typically, the body takes 6 weeks to acclimatize to change. So whether you are following a weight loss plan, or building up your cardio, your best bet is to wait out the inevitable “good” and “bad” days, and stick to a plan you can maintain for the entire 6 weeks. It’s no good going all out in week 4, only to have to take a week off to recover from it. Remember, in most cases, you will lose progress at twice the rate you gained it, so longevity, and routine are definitely key when reaching for your goals.
After my return to running, we stopped off at a cute little cafe to refuel.
Remember, rest and recover during this process is just as important as the type, and frequency of training. Make sure you listen to your body, make adjustments to your diet as needed, and stretch, ice, and tend to inflammation as needed. Your body will thank you ;)
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