@VirginiaEdie I appreciate your getting this thread underway!
As you’ll see shortly, it’s unclear how welcomed my post might be. But sharing is caring, so here I go …
I ran several miles almost every day of my adult life, all seasons, for over 25 years. If I didn’t run, I soon felt like crap.
I went through countless pairs of running shoes, Vibram 5-toes, outdoors in all seasons, and then indoors on my inclined treadmill at a nice clip. I added heavy-hand weights. You name it, I did it.
I never wanted to stop - not even in my 60s.
Each year my internist said: “okay - enough - you’re going to hurt yourself.” I never really did, although I felt sore on occasion. (OTOH, I did lecture him, since he injured himself regularly as a cyclist, breaking ribs, concussions, etc., whenever he smashed into things. But I digress…)
Then, about 2 years ago I stopped running. Cold turkey.
Because I studied deep into high-intensity interval sprint training (sample studies below).
Instead, I began using our elliptical trainer as follows: I do three (3) segments lasting 20 seconds each - at the highest aerobic intensity I can withstand - interspersed within a 10 minute total workout. The rest of the 10 minutes (besides those 3 x 20 second bursts = 60 seconds of sprinting at top capacity) are spent warming up/cooling down at a comfortable no-stress pace.
Initially, I was skeptical that 60 seconds of sprinting (no impact) could somehow equate to 45 minutes of running on the streets or on my treadmill. I’m now convinced that my skepticism was ill-founded.
To be clear, I read about this approach carefully before trying out this alternative cardio routine. I’ll share two studies for your perusal:
HIITvsTradExercise.PDF (734.6 KB)
HIIT-MetabolicResults.pdf (549.9 KB)
Don’t get me wrong - I’m not trying to talk anyone out of running! Heck, like I said, I was a happy runner for over 25 years with no regrets (and no known injuries).
But since switching over to 10 minutes, and only 3x weekly cardio with no body/joint impact, I’ve clearly maintained my aerobic conditioning while gaining about 5+ hours weekly in leisure time. (Although, admittedly, I devote several of my non-cardio days to HIIT slow-burn strength training - for which I never had time before making this cardio switch).
For me, the sprint-training approach of 10 minutes with 3 x 20" bursts is easier, faster, highly effective, and safer.
If nothing else, it’s something to consider, especially if you ever tire of your current running routine at some point down the road.