We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, adding a measure of cross-training and strength work to your training regime will do your running the world of good, regardless of your level.
Aside from being out on your feet, running, perhaps the ‘best’ (dare we say it) all-round cardio exercise (for the time input vs fitness outcome) is on a rowing machine.
According to rowing coaches who formed part of the coaching team who prepped the South African gold-medal rowing crew in Rio “it’s about 50% leg and hip drive, 30 per cent trunk extension and only 20 per cent arm and shoulder work”.
Most ‘ergo’ (rowing) machines have time, intensity, stroke rate and power output options. For the quickest results we recommend intervals:
Warm up for five minutes at a stroke rate of about 18, followed by five minutes at a higher intensity and increased stroke rate of 25-30 (you should be struggling to keep it up). Repeat this three times. Cool down for five minutes at the lower stroke rate.
Make time for structured ‘spinning’ classes at your local gym or, if you have an indoor trainer and own a bike, make the most of the time you have by doing a combination of sprint and endurance intervals during the week. The simple rule applies: pedal faster for longer against a greater resistance and you’re winning.
Try doing the classic 4x4: Warm-up for ten minutes then ride hard for four and recover for four. Repeat for times. (What’s ‘hard’? Your legs and lungs need to be working at a pace where you’re unable to mutter ‘hello’ to whoever is sweating it out next to you.