Substituting, Cheating, Calling In Sick (sounds like Summer School!)

Hi all! I hope you’re all avoiding the heat wave that is plaguing much of the country by staying indoors and enjoying modern technology in the form of air conditioning. Remember to take good care of yourself during your hot summer runs! In the mean time, I wanted to take this opportunity to answer a few of the questions I am asked the most by clients and friends regarding training. Here goes!

Q. Can I substitute swimming/biking/elliptical for running?

A. Yes, but with some provisions. If you are substituting for a speed workout, tempo run or hill workout, make sure that you perform intervals in the pool/on the bike/on the elliptical. For example, if you were supposed to do mile repeats, but you’re going to avoid the sweltering heat of the pavement and hit the pool instead, you approximate how long one mile repeat takes you and swim hard for that same amount of time. You recover in between intervals the same as you would if you were running, by swimming slowly (switch to backstroke, maybe!) and then taking off again for another mile repeat.

Basically, you work hard for the same amount of time you were going to run, ensuring that your body will still be getting the benefit of an interval workout. If it’s a recovery run for you, a you want to be as out of breath as you would be for a recovery run (usually just slightly faster than conversational pace).


Q. Can I hold onto the treadmill as I run/walk?

A. Not unless you have some physical disability that keeps you from being able to balance as you walk. If you have to hold on (and you do not have a physical disability) then you are going too fast and cheating yourself in the process. If you do have a physical disability, feel free to hold on by any means necessary and, by the way, good on you for hitting the treadmill!


Q. Does gardening/shopping/cleaning my apartment count as exercise?

A. Technically, yes. However, we don’t count it as a workout. These are what you put under the heading of “Active Rest.” They are a form of exercise, but they do not count towards your workout. Sorry.


Q. Should I run if I’m sick?

A. Only you can decide that. A good rule of thumb is this: If you are sick from the throat down (including stomach, etc.) give yourself a rest. If you have a fever: No way. If you can’t go to work: Nope. If you are having trouble getting through everyday activities, please stay in bed and catch up on your Netflix queue.

If you have sinus stuff or are at the tail end of a cold, a little jog might do you some good. You have to be the judge as to whether or not you have the energy for a run. If you do, go for it. If you start to feel run down during your attempt to hit the pavement, head home and give it another couple of days.

When in doubt, rest. You do yourself no good by pushing your body to do more than it is able to do during a viral attack.


Hope this helps to clear some stuff up for you out there! Now go out and run!