Use It or Lose It

I am a jogger. Not a runner; I don't run very fast at all. But I enjoy jogging on the back roads around my house. I've done a few 5ks during the past three years. I do not try for an amazing time in these races; I just try to beat my last time. I would say I'm a middle-of-the-pack racer.

I started jogging outside this year in late March and ran the Komen race on May 1. After that, I took a week off to recover. Then another.....and I never really started up again. I would run a day here or there, but not enough to keep up my endurance. Now I am training for a 5k in August. I jogged twice this week and WOW, it was hard! I feel like I've lost everything from that race in May, which makes sense; I haven't "trained" in a month and a half. It made me wonder, how long does it take to get out of shape?

I found on Sports Medicine that for beginning athletes, two months definitely puts you back at level 1. You lose absolutely all the aerobic gains and return to your original fitness level. For fit athletes, after three months they have only lost half of their aerobic conditioning. I would have to say I'm in that beginning category, because running 1 mile yesterday was too much work.

Here are the tips I found for maintaining fitness through breaks:

  • Don't quit completely. Try to exercise at least once per week.
  • Cross Train through injuries.
  • Use Circuit Training Routines for fast, high intensity exercise two or three times a week.
  • Practice Efficient Strength Training methods.
  • Use Fast Workouts to Maintain Fitness with Limited Time.
  • Remember that Rest and Recovery can be as important as training, so use this time to recovery.
  • Add 30-Second Sprints to your routine for fast fitness.
  • Short, high intensity exercise burns more calories if you are limited on time.
  • Maintain Endurance with Shuttle Runs

We'd love to hear your tips for maintaining fitness levels when you have to take a short break. Happy exercising!

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