Yesterday I set out to the gym to run 5 miles.
I’m not going to lie, I get scared that I won’t be able to run long distances if I haven’t been consistently running. However, my run yesterday was seriously STELLAR (maybe it could have been from my hunger monsta & my glycogen stores were full? ;)). I ran a total of 5 miles in about 53 minutes (not too sure about the time because the treadmill crapped out on me and stopped during mile 3.30 & it reset itself, which probably worked out for the better because then I just knew I had to run 1.70 miles until I reach 5 miles! It flew by.). Not to mention I put a bunch of new songs on my I-pod which helped during miles 3 and 4.
This was my playlist:
LOOOOVE Rihanna’s song Rockstar 101. Best. Running. Song. Ever. !!!
For the run in particular, I wanted to focus on being on my feet for a longer amount of time rather than racing through 5 miles. I decreased my normal running speed on the treadmill (6.0 mph) to 5.8 mph. It made the run much more enjoyable! I think that’s why I love long runs so much, you can lower the speed a bit and totally zone out. It’s really relaxing (can’t believe I just said that)!
I credit most of my endurance during my long runs to intense cardio in other aspects of my life other than running. I think running is a great sport to get your heart pumpin’ but I have found out through my own experience that other classes like spin or doing resistant intense elliptical sessions really help keep my ticker strong!
I don’t think I have ever been so strong cardio-wise in my life and I credit this to spin. Spin class really gets your heart rate through the roof and for a full 45-60 minute class! Since doing spin I’ve increased my pace and amount of time I can be on my feet (without stopping for breaks [note: I didn’t stop once during my 5 mile run yesterday! Go me!].).
So, what am I getting at?
I’m trying to let you all, from my own experience, that you don’t need to run like a crazy person or over train in running just to keep your cardiovascular up. 9 times out of 10, you’ll become stronger by doing cross training like: spin or swimming or any exercise that gets your heart rate soarin’ through the roof for a longer period of time.
My tips for maintaining long run endurance without excessively running (remember from my own experience) are:
- Step up the cardio intensity if reducing the amount of times per week you run. I do spin 2-4 times per week and hop on the elliptical 1-2 times. I’ll do a short speedy run once a week and a long run, if I’m up for it, once a week. I try to run at least once a week to maintain distance. I know it’s crazy that I call myself a runner but only run once a week but your body needs to be well versed in other types of exercise as well, not just running. Since my hamstring was hurting (not anymore, yahoo!) I wasn’t running as much. Now that I feel better, I’ll probably run 2-3 times per week.
My favorite part of being a runner is cross training and I take full advantage of it!
- Relax. Don’t freak out if you haven’t ran in a week or a few days. Your body has muscle memory and your level of cardio intensity doesn’t just disappear. If you’re maintaining high intensity levels of cardio in other aspects of your life, then you shouldn’t have any problems.
I have more cardio strength now than I did when I was running 4-5 times per week. Crazy, huh!?
See! It’s super super important that you cross train so that you benefit more when running. It also prevents injury which would take you out of the game completely and that’s never any fun!
Also, be sure to refuel properly! Protein + carbs are usually the combo what I eat after a long run or intense cardio workout.
Yesterday I had a protein packed salad: carrot raisin wheat berry salad to be exact ;).
Plus a Macintosh apple with sunflower seed butter + a square of homemade chocolate granola.
[Always consult your physician before starting any exercise routines as this is just what works for me personally and I thought I’d share my tips on how I am still able to knock out stellar long runs without running like a maniac.]
Tonight we’re going out to one of my favorite restaurants with family + friends. I’m a family orientated kinda girl – love being around my family!
See you tomorrow for a recap :).
Now go get your booty sweatin’!
PS – I have a fun sushi recipe comin’ up on the blog! You’ll be surprised by twist I’ll be putting on traditional sushi ;).
PPS – Check out what I ate for dinner last night…
Mmmmm. Homemade crispy (hello broiler!) french bread pizza anyone!? Recipe to come soon!