Anytime you’re starting a cardio fitness routine, an important first step is to build a solid base of aerobic training.  Today we’re starting your program by getting you in the routine of consistently implementing long, slow distance training. 

Training for longer durations at lower intensities is a smart way to start out burning calories. It prepares your body for more stressful workouts by improving the efficiency with which you cool your body, deliver oxygen to your muscles, produce energy and use fat as an energy source.

What to do now:

  1. Type of exercise: Jogging on a dirt path, jogging on a track, jogging on a treadmil, stationary biking, biking on a bike path, swimming laps, rowing on machine, working on eliptical machine or arc trainer at a low-medium incline and resistance, paddle boarding, speed walking or hiking.   Try using a few different types of exercise. Aside from preventing over-training effects and injuries, it will also keep you interested and plugged into your fitness.
  2. Timing of your workout: We’re starting out measuring your workouts by time. Look at the longest sustained cardio workout you’ve completed within the last two weeks.  If it is anything less than 20 minutes start at 25 minutes, but anything else, add 10 minutes to that time and work out for that amount of time everyday of the week.  For example, if the longest workout you’ve completed is 30 minutes, you will workout for 40 minutes straight without breaking.
  3. Intensity of your workout:  The intensity of the workout should be challenging, but not painful.  You want to be able to sustain the same pace throughout the workout.  If you are talking with someone, you should be able to carry a conversation, but your breathing will be labored throughout.  For example, “So…(breath, breath) did you hear….(breath, breath) about Chris’s… (breath, breath) party next weekend…(breath, breath)?”
  4. Goal to focus on: Regulate your breathing. Think, in two breaths, out two breaths. You don’t want short, shallow panting or really heavy breathing where you’re face is turning red. Think, nice and steady consistent breathing.  This allows oxygen to reach the muscles that are moving you.  If done successfully, this type of breathing can also have therapeutic effects that result in those runners’ highs you always hear about.  It reduces stress and depression as well.
  5. How to progress: Next week, increase 3 of your days by 5-10 minutes and keep the rest the same.

Put in the work now so that we can keep moving forward to your goal. Once we’ve mastered this building block (and it won’t take too long) we’ll be in a great place to build on the workouts with all the fun, more interesting and exciting interval, sprint, tempo, and fartlek workouts.

'Young women running over a sand dune on an unidentified beach, ca. 1935' photo (c) 1935, State Library Queensland - license: http://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/