I recently bought a Groupon for a spin studio in my area and really enjoyed it. It is super challenging for me, and each workout I never think I will make it the full hour. Before I signed up, I had been doing research on ways spinning can help your running. I wanted to learn more about the benefits and how it would translate to stronger running. Turns out there are many ways it does!
Builds both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance.
A spin class is a mix of easy portions and challenging portions. You might have a series of hill climbs, flat sprints and recovery sections. Because of this, spinning works both your fast-twitch muscles and slow-twitch muscles. Fast-twitch muscles are used during speed or hill intervals, and slow-twitch muscles are more endurance based (which will obviously help if you’re training for a marathon). No matter what distance you’re training for, spinning can help you get stronger and faster.
We all know spinning is a great form of cross training for runners. It’s a similar movement as running, and obviously works your lower body. If you’re injured or just want something more low impact on a certain day, spinning is the day to go. When I couldn’t run for 3 weeks before the NYC Marathon in 2013, I did all of my “workouts” on the spin bike, and even completed “track” workouts on there too. I would suggest mixing up your cycling workout with seated and standing intervals in order to work different muscles.
Helps with cadence.
You’ve heard how you’re supposed to run at 180 steps per minute, right? Well, apparently, spinning can help imrove your cadence and increase turnover. A higher cadence on the bike translates to a higher running cadence. I believe it, because in my spin classes recently we’d be biking at 80-90 RPMs and it was killer! Apparently that translates to around a 7-8 minute mile. So the premise here then is that if you go to spin classes and are consistently in that higher range, it might help your speed and turnover (feet moving faster) which is obviously key in a big race!
You have control.
Since you’re indoors, you don’t have to worry about cars or other road safety hazards. You can fully immerse yourself in your workout. Also, you can give it 100% for the same reason. You can go all out in a sprinting portion without worrying about flying off the handlebars or crashing. On the flip side, you can control your resistance, and make the workout as challenging as you want it to be. I love being able to control resistance, especially on hill climbs, because if I were riding outside I would definitely be the person walking their bike up a hill
Increase your weekly miles.
If you’re like me and trying to increase your weekly miles, spinning might be the way to go. If you’re already running most days of the week, doing a morning or evenining spin class is a great way to add in more “miles” without the pounding of a second run of the day. It obviously counts as cross-training, and you’re getting the cardiovascular benefit which will help in your running. This is also a great option for those who are more injury prone as they add more weekly miles. I know plenty of runners who do count cross-training as miles (i.e. – a 60 minute spin class is equivalent to about 6 miles).
I really do enjoy spin class, but like I said in my post yesterday, I need to work on balance as I get into my marathon training. I want to be able to at least do a spin class or yoga class once a week, which might require two workouts in one day…we’ll see.
Do you take spin classes? If you run most days of the week, how do you balance it with your training?
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