body step and training for GNR

hi all, this is my 1st post.

I have been keeping fit for a couple of years by doing a lot of exercise classes, body step, body pump and body combat. I do 5 a week and also do a very slow 10k run on a sunday (about 64 mins).

I've got a charity place today for the GNR. I'm not a good runner and max i have run is 10 miles but that before having my daughter.

I'm basically asking, as the GNR is only a couple of months away, how many classes can i do a week as well as my running? i love my classes and dont want to give them up completely.

Sarah x


  • Hi Sarah!!

    You sound exactly like I was when I started running around 2004. I probably did 10 classes a week at the peak and rarely ran as I found it boring. However I entered the Womens 10k in Glasgow in 2005 off the back of the general fitness the classes gave me. I did virtually no running and still finished under the hour. As I got more into the races and upped my distance to the Half the following year I did more running (namely a couple of approx 5-7k a week and a longer run at the weekend). I got faster but I kept up my classes and rarely substituted them as although I enjoyed the races I still find/found plodding round a chore.

    As the years have progressed I now have different sessions and training is much more mixed. I have now done a couple of triathlons (as well as  marathons and will be doing my 1st Ultra next month) so as well as running and cycling I also swim but I also do a few classes as well as I enjoy them and know I wont get bored and stop.

    What I will say is classes will keep your general cardio fitness up however overall to get faster you will have to run more. I now do a weekly hill reps session with a club, longer runs, easy/steady runs and some tempo stuff and intervals. My 10k PB is 46mins which isnt amazing but I still feel I can get faster. My only problem is I am not a natural runner and I still find running itself a chore. It depends what you are after but Id say if you want to get faster up your running but dont sacrifice enjoyment too much as you'll only give up when you cant be bothered any more. Good luck and let me know how you are getting on!

  • Whatever your sport, your training should surely be geared towards that sport.  Therefore if you're a runner, the bulk of your training should be running.  You can't run every day, but if you're training for a race, then you should be going out 3-5 times a week.  Still go to your exercise classes, but leave them for the days when you're not running.  Nothing wrong with doing something different, e.g. strength training or exercise classes as it helps keep your fitness levels up while using different muscle groups and therefore enabling the muscles used in running to recover.  I can understand you saying that you find running boring but for me, going out to train in the open is more enjoyable than training inside, unless it's pluting it down of course.  To make it less boring, get yourself a running buddy, try using different routes or maybe even do some "quality" sessions e.g. intervals/hills/speedwork (you can find ideas for such sessions on here, on the FIRST site or a site that I stumbled upon recently called "Running Planet".

  • If your current goal is to run then you need to concentrate on that.  However, I personally think that classes can have their place, depending on the type of class.

    Things like yoga, tai chi, pilates or Body Balance are great for keeping the muscles stretched out and preventing injury.  They are good to do the day affter your long run, when you are a bit achy.  Gentle movement aids recovery.

    Strength classes such as Body Pump can also be good as running doesn't really build muscle, but strong muscles will aid running and help protect against injuries.  Be cautious about when you do these though as you don't want to be over working tired legs, so they are best scheduled after a recovery run.

    I would probably drop some of the classes that only work CV, such as spinning and aerobics as you will be gettign the same work out from running, especially if you are doing hill or speed work.  Thats not to say that you have to give them up completely, but these are going to leave you tired and without energy to run without giving you much benefit back.

    Swimming is a good form of exercise on days when your legs ache as it is gentle and predominently works the core and upper body.  It can be a good way of getting the circulation moving and flushing out the muscles without putting too much additional work on the muscles.

    Core classes such as Abs and Backs can be beneficial as a strong core will mean that you can hold better posture when running and will make you faster and stronger.

    Also, classes can be a reasonable substitute for when the weather is too bad to get outside and run.  Don't avoid bad weather as you might be unlucky to have rain and wind on race day so you should be preparing for that, but if it is stormy, visibility is poor and you run on unlit, country lanes, then you might decide that it is safer to do a workout indoors.

  • Thanks for all your responses. I'm going to run about 4 times a week and cut down my classes for now, do about 2-3 a week but more body pump and body balance on my easy days and perhaps a short run on them evenings too. Gong to stick to running for my cardio. Appreciate all the advice xxx
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