Spin!

As I mentioned in my last post, one of the things I realized during this year’s training cycle is that too much of a good thing is, well, not a good thing. My cross training last year included 1-2 HIIT classes a week, along with yoga, aerobics, weightlifting, trail running, hiking, and spin.

This year, it was very sporadic yoga, 4-5 HIIT classes a week and … not much else. The weather was certainly a contributing factor in keeping my road mileage up, in addition to cramping my style for trail running and hiking as much as usual, but I otherwise had no excuse for the lack of variety in my workouts.  As much as “every day is different” in HIIT (especially when there are different HIIT formats on each day), like anything the effectiveness declines at a certain point.  In fact, this article explains exactly why doing HIIT more than 2-3 times per week could be detrimental to your overall fitness gains.

Therefore, in my new “off-season” training plan, in addition to upping my yoga attendance, I’ve resolved to start going to spin class more often. Hiking season (for me) will be coming to a close soon – the next few weeks are quite busy and I’m not a huge fan of winter hiking. (I do enjoy snowshoeing on moderate trails, such as those found at Thacher Park, the Albany Pine Bush, and Plotter Kill Preserve, but I generally just say no to high peaks if it involves needing crampons.) Anyway, last night was my first spin class in nearly a year, and I felt it in all of the good ways. I was excited to see that my favorite spin instructor is still teaching at my “other” gym (the big box one with multiple locations nearby and a low membership fee, that comes in handy when I need to use the treadmill or … well, want to go to spin class!), and the room was recently redone with a large screen that plays virtual videos of beautiful roads during class. (When class isn’t in session, it plays videos of spin instructors, so basically even if there isn’t a spin class scheduled, you can still go to spin class – one of the things my freelancing husband loves about this gym.)

I found settling into a hard pace a lot easier than I anticipated – not physically, per se, but mentally. Before I knew it, I was pushing away in a hard gear, out of breath and sweating, while telling myself I just needed to get through the song before I took a sip of water and slowed down a bit. I forgot how much harder I push myself in spin class compared with other workouts … including running itself. Which explains why my body was missing this form of exercise so much. In fact, after class, I was not only excited for my next spin class, but I am also excited for my next HIIT class and see how hard I can push myself. I am also excited for my next run, to see if I can push myself harder and faster there as well.

Also, good news: I haven’t been having hip pain! I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve dialed back the mileage, gone to more yoga, visited the chiropractor, or switched back to a higher drop shoe (or some combination of all of these), but whatever it is, I’m glad for it! It still hurts to drive long distances (cruise control helps), but otherwise I am obviously doing something right!

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