Have you ever thought taking spin classes could help your running performance? I have taken spin class for the past 9 years and have been a huge fan since my first class. I actually have been spinning longer than I’ve been running.
Of course spin class or biking outside can be a great cross training activity for those days that you don’t run but believe it or not spinning can actually help you with your running speed. Some cases have proved it to improve 5k times by 3% and 10K times up to 9%! That’s a pretty significant percentage in a shorter distance race. Spinning and running are different because obviously running is very high impact but spinning is virtually impact free. You get a killer cardio work out that almost duplicates running sprints and pushing high resistance builds strength in key areas of the legs used for running.
I attribute my ability to do as well as I do in races to my years of spinning. I only started running in 2009 yet I am a competitor in my division in pretty much every local Orlando race. I went in to training for my first race with my cardiovascular system in top shape because of my 5 years of spinning prior to running – I really only had to get my legs used to the soreness of long runs, the impact of running and figure out my pace when I first started running outside and training for my first race. I even got my cardio system back fairly easily after taking a full year off from running after having my son. I started out with spin classes to get my cardiovascular system strong then I trained for the 2011 Hot Chocolate 15K. I am now faster than before pregnancy.
Spinning is pure interval training. In a good class you are doing a variety of “drills”. You climb hills, you sprint (always with resistance), you do longer faster paces or short bursts of speed with various levels of resistance and there are times where you’re pushing it as hard as you possibly can followed by a bit of recovery. It mirrors running repeats and will increase your endurance as an athlete. If you’re taking a good class from a knowledgeable instructor they will remind you to always keep a level of resistance on your bike. Sprinting with too little or no resistance can take your safe no impact work out to a knee injuring work out and really you’re not doing anything if you don’t have resistance anyways. A sure test to see if you have enough resistance is to make sure your butt doesn’t bounce in the saddle when you are riding fast; if it is you need to turn the resistance knob to the right!
Spinning also helps strengthen the muscles used in running. Now, spinning is not meant to replace lifting weights but when you’re pushing resistance you are gaining strength without the impact. As runners, our bodies need time to recover from pounding the pavement every time we run but with spinning you can get some of the same benefits without needing that impact recovery time. I usually will take 2-3 spin classes or ride my spin bike at home during half or full marathon training.
Studies have also shown that there is a connection between pedal stroke cadence and foot cadence while running. The more times your feet strike the ground the harder it is on your body and the more likely you are to get injured. In a perfect world we would be working on trying to lengthen our stride so our feet strike the ground less but that is not always easy to do without a coach. The more times you are able to get that pedal around is supposed to help you have a higher foot strike cadence making you less prone to injury.
I hope all the runners out there who haven’t yet tried a spin class will try one and see how it affects your running performance. Personally, I think spinning has a lot to do with my speed and endurance as a runner.
XOXO The Glam Runner
Anyone who considers themselves a runner has had this question asked of them at least once…”why do you run”? Followed by, “it’s so boring”, “you’re going to ruin your knees”,” that can’t be good for your body” etc. The truth is, running is not only one of the best exercises for your heart and cardiovascular system but it’s the fastest, most effective way to burn calories and lose weight! Running is hard. Running is hard on your body, it tests your endurance and it tests your mind. Believe it or not running is a very mental activity; more times than not, your mind will give out before your legs. Sometimes when I’m exhausted and running a 5 miler I literally can’t get through that last mile but then the next day I could run 15 miles no problem. It’s a mind game and you have to learn to overcome it with positive thoughts.
I recently shared my story as to why I run on Keri’s Runway (www.kerisrunway.com a fun supportive and inspiring website for runners, fitness enthusiasts and fashionistas); I also wanted to share it in my blog. I started working out about 9 years ago when I moved to Orlando from Chicago. I didn’t know anyone or have anything to do so I joined a gym and really got in to fitness and I’ve been a fitness enthusiast ever since. I worked out with a personal trainer for a long time; I was in to lifting weights at the time with a little bit of elliptical and a spin class once per week for cardio. My fitness goals were very unhealthy and superficial. I was only worried about being skinny and having “abs of steal”. I worked out like crazy always comparing myself to unrealistic airbrushed women and feeling like I failed at my fitness goals miserably. I would cut back on carbs, feel weak then binge later and feel even worse about myself than I did before. I started adding in more cardio and started running on the treadmill for about 30 minutes every other day. It was uncomfortable and painful but I still did it. This whole cycle of me working out like a crazy person and not meeting my “fitness goals” went on for years until around New Year’s Resolution time going in to 2009 I decided to sign up for the 2009 Disney Princess Half Marathon. I had friends who had run half marathons and I liked the idea of taking 3 months to train then actually do something.
I started training and my long runs were painful! Every Sunday I’d do my long runs, increase mileage and be more sore than I can ever remember feeling. I trained for 3 whole months, ran the 2009 Disney Princess Half Marathon and finished in 2 hours 3 minutes! I LOVED it! I was hooked – I started looking for the next one which was the 2009 Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon (1:54:23) then the 2009 Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon (1:47:04) with a few 5Ks in between. My time improved every time and I felt so accomplished every time I crossed that finish line – something I’ve never felt before with my previous fitness goals. I ran the 2010 Disney full Marathon, 2010 Disney Princess Half Marathon, 2010 Minneapolis full Marathon, 2010 Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, 2010 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon with some 5Ks and 10Ks in between until I took a year off to have my son. My previous PR in a half marathon (my favorite distance to run) was the 2010 Disney Princess Half Marathon: 1:44:55. I won 1st in my age group in a 10K and always placed in the to 10 in every single 5K I had ever done. As I said, I felt so accomplished! I was actually good at running – who knew?
My first race back after having my son was the 2011 Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K. Training for that race felt like training for my first half marathon – I was also 15 pounds overweight and completely out of shape while training for that one. I ended up finishing in 1:24:27 and I felt great after the race! My time was nowhere near what I could do but great for my first race in over a year and being overweight. I couldn’t wait until my next race – the Orlando OUC Half Marathon – I finished in 1:54:38 which was right around my previous average time. I was back – but not quite. The holiday got to me and my training slacked for the 2012 Disney World Half Marathon, I finished with my worst time on record. I was so upset with myself and I got that old sense of failure again. It was a horrible feeling and I decided to kick it up, drop my weight for good and train hard for the 2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon. I lost the weight by then and finished that one in 1:47:42 which was my 3rd best half marathon time ever. I officially felt like I was back and ended up qualifying for the Half Marathon Fanatics for completing 3 half marathons within 90 days. Since then I ran a 10K, four 5Ks a 10 miler, a 15K and 4 half marathons! I met my goal of running a half marathon in the 1 hour 30 minute range – I finished the 2012 First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon in 1:39:41 which got me 3rd place in my age group and is still my PR so far! In all the smaller local races (5, 10 and 15Ks) I have never placed lower than 7th on my age group and even won 1st in my age group in the Run for the Trees 5K. I would say my running goals are going well even though I still get angry when I don’t PR – it’s just the determination in me.
I have a number of races left in 2012 and I just started training for speed by adding Tempo runs and repeat days 2 weeks ago. I have more running goals in mind and I am having so much fun working towards them. If I did that well without speed training in the past, what am I capable of now? Placing overall in a 5K? Place in another larger half marathon? Qualify to run Boston? The possibilities are limitless!
The reason why I run is because I’m working towards a positive, healthy non superficial fitness goal. It’s good for my heart, good for my body and soul. I love running! No matter what you choose to do for fitness, make sure it is positive and healthy and don’t be afraid to try something new. You never know where your talents may lie.
XOXO The Glam Runner
We are all very busy people in today’s society! We have full-time jobs, kids, families, school, social activities and sometimes even a second job – sometimes getting to the gym to get your workout in can be next to impossible. That’s why I feel everyone should invest in a few pieces of workout equipment so you can get a workout in at any time when the day is too crazy and hectic for you to make your spin or kickboxing class at the gym.
There are plenty of workout DVDs out there. The Beachbody program has many different high energy, popular and reputable programs that really work like Insanity, P90X, Brazilian Butt Lift, the Turbo system, you name it. (beachbody.com). If you’re looking for a coach you can contact Liz Pall on Twitter @ElisabethPall or on Facebook (Elisabeth Pall).
I have a set of 20, 15, 10, 8, 5 and 3 pound dumbbells at home as well as resistance bands. I also just invested in a Spin Bike for my home a couple of weeks ago. (spinning.com) Having a few items to get a workout in at home can be a total lifesaver – I know it is for me! As a single mom with a 1-year-old, a full-time job and plenty of other things to do throughout the day, having that spin bike and dumbbells allows me the flexibility when I have a lot of work to do, when my son isn’t feeling well or when we’re having one of those heavy thunderstorms that happen to pop up out of nowhere. Lately, I’ve been running in to the problem that my son likes to take his second nap later in the day and it ends interfering with me getting to the gym in the evening. Then there are those days when I just don’t feel like driving all the way to the gym and having to put my son in the gym’s daycare, which he hates. Those days, I ride my spin bike after he goes to bed or I’ll do a nice weights session with the dumbbells and resistance bands I have at home. It’s nice to always have that option in case something goes array or when you’re crunched for time. Sometimes that drive to and from the gym can be a total time killer.
Having those weights and the motivation to get moving helped me to get workouts in right after I had my son too. Sometimes I would just turn on some music and dance around my house when my son was napping. The daycare service at my gym doesn’t allow babies until they are 3 months old and even then you can expect to get called in to come get your child because they are crying, it usually takes a few tried before they last a full hour. The “Kiddie Gym”, as the gym I go to calls it, will not feed your baby or change his or her diaper so it gets even more difficult. I was “pumping and feeding” and my little guy was a big eater – he was always hungry. By the time I pumped, fed him then finally got to the gym it would be time to pump again. There was a full month, after my mom went back to Chicago, when I didn’t step foot in to the gym because there was never a good time. I ended up getting a nanny and I was able to run in the mornings and get my weights or Pilates work outs in at lunch time but there were still busy days where I didn’t get my run in or my resistance training in. It was nice to be able to at least do a weights workout at home once my son went to sleep. I just wish I would have invested in that spin bike a long time ago right after I had my son – I would have probably lost my weight much faster!
Another great tool to get great workout ideas from is Pintrest. Believe it or not, there are some great workouts that you can pin and try at home or at the gym. I have a nice Fitness and Healthy Recipe board (follow my Fitness, Healthy Recipes, Beauty, Fashion and baby AJ boards on Pintrest.com: Samantha DeBello). I am posting some of the tools I found on Pintrest below. I’ve done both of the workouts and they are killer! I am also posting a nice graphic that shows 7 items to make the perfect home gym. I know I will be investing in a few more items myself. I love the TRX!
I hope everyone got a few good ideas to get a little “home gym” started and to have no excuses to miss a workout!
Happy running and working it out…in a gym or at home! XOXO The Glam Runner