Since getting certified to teach RPM spinning, I’ve gotten a few requests for a post on spinning and the things I have learned. So I’ll start with my spinning story:
I started spinning consistently after my marathon last spring. My shin was a little achy, and I jumped back into long runs too soon, resulting in an ‘almost’ stress fracture (it was never confirmed) and a conservative two months off running. In the healing process, I experimented with a number of spinning classes and quickly learned how much variety there is!
Initially, I was not impressed and was really missing the endorphin rush and good sweat from a nice run. But I eventually found instructors who really pushed me, and I began to work harder. I got to a point where I was consistently leaving class dripping wet and found my fitness improving (strength and pace).
RPM is one particular brand of cycling classes, although some of my favorite classes were free cycling… it really comes down to the instructor in most cases!
What I appreciate about RPM classes is that they emphasize interval training– hitting your peaks, then recovering so you can work hard again. When you’re working, you should REALLY be working… it’s only 45 minutes long, so the idea is to max out in those 45 minutes. Interval training has been shown to be the best way to get fitter. And if you’re looking to burn calories, it revs your system and you continue burning calories for hours afterward.
After I returned to running, I found that I had not lost as much running fitness as I anticipated. I ran my first 5k on two weeks of training and felt much better than I expected to (finished in 21:47). I continued going to spinning classes twice a week.
Spinning can effectively strengthen the entire muscles of the leg, serving as a great compliment to running, especially if you live in a flat area (like me) and don’t get a lot of hill workouts in, or rarely take the time to strength train your legs. I credit spinning for powering me up the hills in Austin’s half marathon when I only trained on flat roads. I know that spinning has made me a more well-rounded athlete and a stronger runner.
Spinning can also replace one (or two ) easy runs per week and allow you to train harder without overtaxing your body with extra running miles. Run Less, Run Faster encourages spinning as the cross-training of choice for this reason, and I’ve found that spinning helps me keep my mileage lower while my body still benefits from extra cardiovascular training.
Do you spin or cross train?
Have you seen benefits in your running fitness from cross training?