Elliptical and Running

by Question by Julie, Answer by Marius

It it ok to do running combined with elliptical or cycling ? I received these questions below from Julie.

My answer under each question in "italic" :)

"Marius, I am a beginner runner and I was so glad to find this website. I have a few questions that I am hopeful you can answer.

1. I run 3x week and work on the Elliptical on my off days - for 60 minutes. Is the training on the elliptical too much or is it okay?

Julie, thank you for the questions. It is perfectly ok to do the elliptical work, in fact alternating running and cycling/elliptical is smart for beginner runners. I generally advice to have 1-2 off days though to give your muscles some rest.

In addition to this (and this is a smart tip) : try to have a high "frequency" when doing cycling/elliptical. What that means is that you have little resistance when you do it and try to keep the movements fast.

This makes the movements much closer to actual running (you go on "high gear" - and pedal real fast)

2. I read the articles for couch to 5k, 5k training, and 10 k training. I have to admit that I didn't understand some of the jargon and wondered if you could translate for me.

a) What does the "30 times 1 minute" and the "6 times 5 minute" means?

That means you run for 1 minute, then take a break, run 1 minute again then take a break. So you repeat this 30 times (the 1 minute runs) Same with the 6 times 5 minute : it means that you run for 5 minute, take a break, run 5 minutes take a break and do this 6 times. The break in between can generally be anywhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes.

b) Under the pyramids you mention running 30 sec - 1 min - 2 min (etc) - does this mean to run 30 sec - walk 30 sec - run 1 min - walk 1 min - etc building up to 4 or 5 min then coming back down to the 30 sec?

You got it!

c) Under the "longer off track/soft surface" - you write: Typical sessions are 5 times 6 minute with 2 minute easy jog in between. Can you tell me what this means?

This means that you run 6 minutes, 2 min jog, run 6 minutes, 2 min jog : and this is repeated so that you in sum run the 6 minutes 5 times.

I started walking/running in October on a treadmill but could only get my running to 3-4 min at 6 mph. I was told I was trying to run too fast so I slowed it down I am able to run at 4.4 on the treadmill (I know slow) but I can run for a solid hour which I do for 3x week.

My goal is to run several 5k's this summer leading up to a 10k then half then full marathon at some point in the future. I didn't realize there was such a strategy for running.

My goal is not for speed but just to be able to run for endurance. I know my questions are elementary but I sure do appreciate any help you can give me.


Good luck with building your running endurance, Julie.

And the couch to 5k program should do well for you in that training if you want to follow a more detailed plan.

Best regards, Marius

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