Monday, 9 January 2012

Running v walking v interval

When my husband and I started this whole fitness/fat loss thing in the spring of 2011, we had principles. No running was one of them. No running, not ever. We decided it wasn't necessary or even desirable, that running was for self-harmers and resulted, more often than not, in some sort of injury.

We discovered that walking every day made a huge difference to fat loss, was low-impact and therefore the risk of injury was greatly reduced. It was also enjoyable and didn't knacker you out.

Trouble is, the more I walked and the more resistance training I did, the stronger and more powerful I felt, until one day the urge to run was too much to resist. (That combined with the idea that I could condense an hour's walk into a half hour run!)

Before I knew it I was running regularly. Not far or very fast but regularly. Then it got cold and windy and rainy and I stopped.

I've had a few months off. I still go to the gym around three times a week but I've stopped running and walking altogether.

On a recent course, we had to do a VO2max test and I had to run on the treadmill which reminded me that I could run. And since then I have started running a couple of times a week again. I'm finding it more enjoyable than I did the first time I discovered running so I'm going to carry on.

our principles remain the same: you do not have to run for fat loss and fitness.

Walking is absolutely the best exercise you can do. It is low impact and if you walk fast enough it gets your heart rate raised sufficiently to burn fat.

If, however, you enjoy running, then fine. Just make sure you don't overtrain, rest days are REALLY vital to avoid injury and to gain the most from the exercise.

I learnt something very interesting on my most recent course, that is to train for a long distance, you don't need to run long distances. Begin with a month or so of running long distance to raise your VO2 max, that is your lungs' capacities for providing your blood with sufficient oxygen to fuel your muscles most effectively. Then once you have raised that (there are tests available to test this but I'll go into that separately) then you go onto interval training (sprint, walk, sprint, walk etc.) to raise your lactate threshold which will enable you to make use of that great VO2 max you have developed.

Brilliant. So I am going to run for a month or so then I am gong to switch to high-intensity interval training. We tested our own VO2 max and lactate threshold on the course so I have a benchmark and I'll keep you posted as to whether or not this strategy makes a difference.

I managed 6km this morning after the school run. Many of you will be running way further and faster than me but I think that may be the farthest I've ever run in one go! Remember I only started this in May 2011. Before that I had never done a minute's exercise in my life!

Krish x

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