Running always kinds of splits the waters for people trying to gain muscle mass. Some swear by running for fat loss, others can’t seem to scream muscle loss fast enough. I kind of like running. You won’t see me running marathons or anything close – that would just be detrimental to my goals. But sprints and short recreational trips – I am all in! You will not se me doing Power Walks either, if I for some reason were not able to run 3-5 km, then I would have missed my target goals by a continent.
For this post I will focus on recreational running, as I will call these “short” runs. I am even more in love with sprints, but they are a totally different beast and will be covered in another post later on.
My current work and training scheme, has meant that this little weapon of mine, has been left unused, for the better part of this year. But as my daily work will completely turn upside down in 2013, I plan on bringing them back. Now how do I go about “recreational running”
I do these runs the day after a hard workout in the gym. I train then entire body 2-3 times a week, so the day after a good fullbody workout I would strap on running shoes and go for a short trip. The goal of this trip is in no way to improve your all-out 3 or 5 km times, they are as the name suggests, pure recreational. Run in a easy steady pace and return feeling only slightly tired. You should not be chasing your breath or feel like you had to fight the last k.
I have found 3-5k to be around the sweet spot for me, but you could be completely different and may need more or less. I would shoot for anywhere between 15-25 minutes of light jogging. If you cannot run for 15 minutes straight – please stop reading and start fixing that! (If you do not know how, please say so, and I will point you in the right direction.)
There is a little tip, that was once given to me by a friend in the military, for running without losing your breath and making it, by my experience, more fluent. What you do is, you divide your in-breath into two, each matching a step by alternating feet. Then you do a long out-breath, spanning minimum the same as the two in-breaths and again match your two in-breaths as each foot hits the ground after your out-breath. This can get you into a very fluent rhythm – totally perfect for the recreational trip.
Short – Short – Loooong – Short – Short – Loooong.
What I have found when doing this recreational running, is that it helps my recovery, keeps my bodyfat levels in check and actually seems to help gain/retain muscle mass. Every time I use these, my conditioning just seem to dial in. It does wonders to my mid-section, that not by any means is a problem area for me, but using fitness/bodybuilding terms, it just kind of makes me look full and polished at the same time. And I haven’t even touched on the psychological upsides of running..
If you are looking to improve your conditioning, give it a try. But remember not to overdo it. It is active restitution – not HIIT!
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