Most forms of cardio have become very unpopular lately. No longer trendy and no longer a seen as a necessary evil in achieving your fitness goals, so people tend to shy away from it.
Now don’t get me wrong, lifting weights will always be my favourite pastime. I’ve been doing it for as long as I remember, it is very much a part of me and who I am. But I do really enjoy the occasional run and there are some less obvious advantages to cardio and distance running in particular.
Distance running creates a sort of a disconnect from the outside world. We spend so much time connected these days, mobile phones, Tv, social media that its hard to actually find a few minutes to stop and think. Running is the one of the few things that I’ve noticed that forces me to disconnect entirely and think clearly.
I just don’t seem to get that same disconnect from in a gym because there’s always a distraction. Focusing on form, weight or other gym users. But with running it’s simple: keep putting one foot in front or the other until your reach your goal. After a few kilometres your mind sort of switches to auto pilot. I imagine it’s similar to how meditation must feel.
I would compare the feeling you get from a long run to running disk defragmentation on an old computer hard drive. As if someone a has pressed the reboot button on my brain, I get a greater sense of focus from it, suddenly I can think clearly again and it lasts for days.
Finishing a long distance feels amazing. Be it 5k or a marathon the sense of achievement you get from finishing a race you’ve been training for is hard to beat. Not to mention all the awesome health benefits that come with regular cardio.
Now I know Powerlifting / bodybuilding and distance running aren’t two sports that ever really go together. A lot of people would argue that they’re two conflicting goals and that there’s no carryover between a power sport and an endurance sport.
There are however some benefits that I’ve noticed to lifting heavy and running.
I don’t suffer from DOMs the next day. At least not in the same way, I have friends that like to run distance and always complain about their leg pain the following day. All those heavy squats seem have prepared my legs for the regular volume and as a result I don’t ever feel leg pain and even after very long distances, my recovery time is very short.
Also my legs take a very long time to run of of steam, at a comfortable pace I can run for a surprisingly long amount of time.
Interested in getting started?
Here are my tips to start running:
- Get into it slowly, don’t expect to run 10 or 20k on your first attempt. Much the same as building up your weight lifting ability when you started lifting, it will take time to adjust. Improving Aerobic/Anaerobic Endurance takes time.
- Don’t expect fantastic times right away. If your carrying quite a bit of muscle chances are your probably too heavy to run amazing times, then again you don’t necessarily need to be good at something to enjoy it.
- Invest in a good pair of running shoes. Us weightlifting folk tend to be on the heavier side so a half decent pair of running shoes that offer good support and cushioning is crucial. Pavement pounding puts a lot f stress on joints. I highly recommend Asics but ideally you should aim to find a good spots store that specialises in running and ask for assistance in choosing a pair.
Won’t I loose all my gains brah? Not necessarily, The basic rules still apply. Adjust your calorie intake accordingly on days you run and you’ll be fine. Tracking calories, carbohydrates, and protein is going to be crucial when trying to strike a balance.
- Pick a distance and focus on a run, walk, run approach until you reach it. Begin by running and if you find you’re begining to tire simply walk for a while until your able to run again. Even a small distance like 5k is tough if you’ve never really ran it before so try not to be discouraged if you’re struggling.
- So you have power in gym and thats a great start but remember that power is only one factor when it comes to running performance. Having a powerful stride is great but it will only take you so far if you don’t have the aerobic system to support it. So don’t forget to be consistent with you weekly running habits. Distance running is certainly not for everyone, and its certainly never going to be something I enjoy more than weight training but give a go and you might be surprised by the benefits you get out of it.