The Pulse

Q&A, Doggie Fitness, & Do and Don't

Q & A WITH
PAUL SCOTT
How long does it take to see real gains in endurance?
—Mike Wood, La Jolla, California

SIX WEEKS IS YOUR ANSWER. This time frame recognizes that endurance comes via two separate activities. One is long, slow distance to get your muscles and joints used to the miles. The other is intermittent sprint sessions to condition your body to working at higher heart rates and to increase your cardio efficiency. This holds true for elite athletes. "I find that it takes six weeks to get my endurance back after taking time off," says Peter Reid, winner of last year's Ironman Hawaii triathlon. "The first three weeks, I build up the volume. Then I recover for a week, and then finish by ramping up the volume for the last two weeks." After a month and a half, you should be able to chart your gains by watching your pace increase even though your heart rate stays the same.
[DOGGIE FITNESS]
Percentages of dogs and their owners, respectively, who lost weight when sharing an exercise routine such as walking, running, or hiking
SOURCE: THE IAMS COMPANY
Do & Don't Spring Training
DO make your outdoor cardio workouts 20 percent longer than the length of your indoor treadmill or spinning workouts.

DON'T immediately run on sidewalks or roads. Use trail running to ease your legs and back into pavement-pounding shape.

DO ease off on the duration and frequency of your strength-training sessions as your time outdoors increases, or you'll wear yourself out quickly.

DON'T assume that you'll be able to keep lifting the same weight after you dial back the weight training.

SOURCE: WAYNE WESTSCOTT, DIRECTOR OF FITNESS RESEARCH AT THE SOUTH SHORE YMCA, QUINCY MASSACHUSETTS

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