Most people say they're doing cardio. "I'm doing some cardio today". "I just did an hour of cardio". We hear this all the time. Hopefully you're not saying it though.
What we want is conditioning.
So what's the difference. Let's give them both a definition:
Cardio - jumping on a treadmill, bike, etc. and plodding along. Getting the minutes in with no real purpose other than to burn calories.
Conditioning - training with a PURPOSE.
Training with a purpose is so important. Not only does it mean that you structure your training properly, and so get more results from it, but you also go in to each session with more intent, as you know what the specific outcome of that session is supposed to be. Having more intent will also help you to get more results.
So, for conditioning you specifically target one of the energy pathways that you want to develop (aerobic, glycolytic, and phosphocreatine). What these systems are we will get into in more depth in a future article, but here's an overview:
Aerobic - your body is utilising oxygen to fuel this training. Can be sustained for a very long period of time.
Glycolytic - your body takes in less oxygen than it needs, making this 'anaerobic training'. It can be sustained for a few minutes.
Phosphocreatine - high power training (think short sprints or throwing things). Sustained for less than 30 seconds.
As you can see, they all have different functions. Simply running for an extended period of time will only address your aerobic system (and that's only if you are actually doing it at the correct intensity). And if that's your goal, then great. But there are much more efficient ways of training the aerobic system than going for long duration runs, which will not only save you time, but will decrease the amount of impacts that your body takes from pounding on pavements.
The key thing is to remember to always have a purpose before you do conditioning. Otherwise you are performing inefficient work, to get less results.
To help plan your training visit the website www.scottishperformancecoach.com to get a programme that suits your goals.
Enjoy your training.