Spinning Certified!

SpinningNow I know this is primarily a running related blog, but spinning and group exercise has become a part of my life (and training, too).  For those of you not interested in Spinning, I assure you this post has something to do with running if you decide to break through the Spinning portion.  Also, I should preface that while I’m not technically official, I took the 9-hour course on Saturday.  Now I’m just awaiting for the online test to become available so I can crank that out and get my cute little certification mailed to me.  Until then, this cute little paper with scribbles on it will have to do.

I was somewhat dreading this class for a few reasons:

  1. It was 9 hours on a Saturday. After a 5-day work week, teaching three day, plus my own workouts, dreadful is actually an understatement.  
  2. I was ticked that I’m just breaking even as of this paycheck from the two certifications I’ve had to get in order to continue teaching: ISCA Group Exercise and Spinning.  I didn’t go out to get a 2nd job for my $500/month student loans (with IBR, too!) to break even in my spending.

Fortunately, the class was beyond worth it for a few reasons, too:

  1. The instructor was interesting, completely engaging, and very knowledgeable so the class flew by.
  2. I learned so much that the money spent now feels worth it.  
  3. This is my last required certification (I believe) to keep teaching, besides continuing credits which will probably be about $300/2 years vs. the $500/5 months I just spent.
  4. I can apply so much to my future run-related training!

The background of spinning is pretty cool, if you weren’t aware of it already.  The short story: When it’s cold, indoor cyclists can’t train outside; Spinning was created to fix this with indoor riding.  The long story: Johnny G is pretty bad ass.

My typical Spin class prior to taking this certification was to make sure I got at least the four basic types of spinning movements into each ride: sprints/intervals, hills, cadence, and jumps.  The good thing  – I had a relatively solid (and proper) concept behind each so I was instructing them properly (most times).  The bad thing –  I’m not really supposed to have each of these in every single class.

This is kind of where designing classes plays into designing my future training plans for running.  It’s something I knew back in my head and attempted with my running, but hearing somebody talk about it in terms of endurance cyclists and professional athletes… it really clicked for me, especially since I’m sticking with heart rate training (which Spinning is based on).

So there are five Spin Energy Zones, which are based on the ways professional (or any competitive) cyclist trains.  I’ll spare the Spin related details, but below is the lowdown.  Newsflash: This can definitely apply to running, too.

  • Recovery
    • Why? Repair, rebuild, and rejuvenate.
    • Intensity? 50-65% of maximum heart rate
    • How often? 1-2 times per week
  • Endurance (“Fat Burning”)
    • Why? Build your aerobic base, train slow twitch muscles, and burn fat.
    • Intensity? 65-75% of maximum heart rate
    • How often? 3-4 times per week
  • Strength
    • Why? Increase muscular endurance and work on the lactate threshold.
    • Intensity? 75-85% of maximum heart rate
    • How often? 1-2 times per week
  • Interval 
    • Why? Train your body to recover.
    • Intensity? 65-92% of maximum heart rate
    • How often? 1 time per week, once you’ve built a strong aerobic base
  • Race Day!
    • Why? See how far you’ve come and ride/run at lactate threshold
    • Intensity? 80-92% of maximum heart rate
    • How often? Monthly

Currently with my running, I’m still working in that endurance phase.  It’s nice to know that 75% of my maximum heart rate is actually my MAF heart rate, so I’m actually reassured by what I’ve been doing (still, I’m eating that humble pie).  I don’t have an exact maximum that is based on science, just my hardest 5k to date in extremely humid weather and what my heart rate monitor read.  I was convinced my heart was going to beat out of my chest, so I’m pretty confident in its accuracy.  Just as the Maffetone method states, you don’t add interval  training until you’ve built that strong aerobic base.

We discussed periodization during class, too.  Not so much as a way to build your class (because general population is not going to understand 12 weeks of classes strictly building your aerobic base!) but in the ways that athletes train.  It’s already something I’m somewhat doing seriously, a lot of people already do, but especially those who are serious about the sport.  Again, I’ve always known about this approach to training but hearing somebody else put it into different words really made sense.

So while I was supposed to be picking up all these techniques for teaching Spin classes (and I did!) it was also just as beneficial to my running and I can’t wait to get back into full out training again (slowly and injury free!)

Now I’m off to read about endurance training, periodization (for running), and create some ride profiles for the upcoming few weeks.  Hell yes, exercise!


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Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

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