I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
I hate running.
I hate it. I HATE RUNNING. There, I said it. I have spent a good portion of my adult years really trying to become “a runner”. There was actually even a point in time when I did love it, although that only lasted about a year or two. There is something lovely about a good run along the Charles River on a perfectly crisp spring day, but other than that, I think it’s the pits. And you know what? That’s OK with me. I have had a love-hate roller coaster with running for about 10 years now, but I believe that I’ve finally come to terms that I fall heavily on the hate side, rather than the love.
And it’s not really the running that I hate, it’s the steady repetition of it all; that feeling of working so hard but moving so. slow.
(Because let’s face it, I’ve never been fast).
Put me on a hill and tell me to do 10 repeats, and I’m all yours. Set the treadmill up to a 10% incline and tell me to do sprint intervals, Heck Yea! Bring me to Harvard Stadium and ask me to run stadium sprints, and I’m on cloud 9. I’ll run those stadiums until I can hardly stand on my shaking-like-jelly legs. Hill training and HIIT (high intensity interval training) make me happy, which is the opposite effect of slow, steady-state jogging. Why does this matter?
Most fitness blogs and websites will show a lot of love to HIIT training, including me. The gains that you will get from HIIT are potentially more than you will get from steady state cardio, depending on the intensity, duration, and frequency. However, I think that as in all other things in life, there is a need for balance. Steady state cardio will definitely help you with your endurance if you do, say, decide to haphazardly sign up for an impromptu road race. Steady state cardio is also a great way to have a recovery day for tired, overworked muscles.
This is my biggest problem. Because I know that I need balance, I do try to do some steady-state cardio at least once per week, although that has proven to be extremely hard for me over the past few months. Take yesterday, for example. I needed some recovery time for my legs after a tough squat day on Monday, so I hopped on the treadmill and was going to do a steady-state recovery jog. After 20 minutes, however, I got so bored that I almost couldn’t take it anymore. Now, I do realize that cardio is NOT meant to entertain me, but I don’t generally enjoy doing things that are pure mental torture.
So, on I went, cranking up that incline after 20 minutes and spending the last 10 minutes doing hill intervals. Was this bad for me? Ultimately, no, (especially after my ridiculous food intake during the Pats game this weekend) but I do think that I need to just suck it up and keep it slow sometimes, for balance, and to keep my endurance in check.
After all, there is ONE type of running that I love and I do need to train for, if I expect to totally Dominate come June:
Yep, that’s me! New England Warrior Dash 2011
As long as my runs are broken up by fire, cargo nets, mud pits and other obstacles, I’m game. Maybe if I could get someone to plant dangerous obstacles in my path I could get through a run on my own without extreme boredom.
What about you? Does anyone Love Cardio? Does anyone love steady-state but hate HIIT?? How much cardio do you do per week?