Happy Independence Day to my U.S. readers! 🇺🇸💕
Last week, I started retraining with the Couch to 5k trainer.
For the last nine months or so, I’ve been using HIIT sprints as my cardio after lifting. I love quick intervals, and it was a nice mental change to move to 60 or 90 second sprints rather than 30 minutes of running.
The problem with the whole sprint scenario is that now I can’t run long distances. My muscles just aren’t used to it anymore, my brain wants to give up after just a few minutes, and (here’s the truth that most lifters won’t tell you) my cellulite came back. Thaaaaat’s right, friends: without regular steady-state cardio, my sleek smooth thighs and bum turned to lumpy mush. I’m sad about it, no doubt, but the nice thing is that I know exactly what I did to tighten it all up in the first place. Lifting may do wonders for my abs, my arms, and my overall physique, but my butt and thighs need running.
So. Like Forrest Gump, I. am. running. I started right in the middle of C25k, and it’s a good tough cardio burn after I lift. Today I ran intervals of 3 min, 5, 3, and 5 with short breaks. A couple days ago I did 5s & 8s. I’m still working up to running real distance–I’ve kept my hand in enough that I’ve always been able to do a couple miles straight, but I want to use this trainer and finally bust through the 5k wall. Real running is tough, though, both mentally and physically. I’m definitely sore in places I hadn’t remembered, but I love the discipline it takes, and how accomplished I feel when I’m done.
The BEST part, though, is how much faster I’ve gotten over time.
See those average paces?! When I first started running, I was pretty slow: I ran about a 13 minute mile. I got it down to around 12, but over about a 2 1/2-year period, I never really got faster than that. Now, I’m running 10:30 miles, and getting a little faster every day. I believe all that sprinting actually did me more good than I was aware, and now I’m realizing those efforts in full. It’s pretty cool. I’m gonna be honest, I really love punching the treadmill up a little faster, then a little more, and watching my body go go go!
Anyway. Short intervals have their place. Steady state cardio has its place. Running is my jam, but it definitely isn’t the only way to get cardio in. How do you like to do cardio?