Perhaps you’ve been following my running journey. It’s possible that posts like this have led you to believe that I’m a running fool. That I’m out every chance I get. That I’m happiest when I’m hitting the pavement.
But then you see my half marathon training calendar. And there are a LOT of holes in there – quite a few empty days with no milage accrued. And just like that, my secret is out: I don’t run as much as people think I do.
Now to be fair, I talk about running a lot, although I’ve never exaggerated or lied about my running habits. I’ve grown a lot since I started running, and I’m proud of my accomplishments. And whether I’m complaining about the heat, asking advice about a sprained ankle, grumbling about pushing 60 pounds of stroller and preschooler weight in front of me, or describing my last race, I love talking about my running-related adventures. Some of my friends seem to think that I go out every day, or that I must be logging 25 miles or more a week.
But things like bad weather, crazy schedules, lack of motivation, or all the insaneness that comes with being a parent, I can’t always get out for a run. Lately between the holidays and the weather I just can’t seem to cut a break and get out. It’s even harder now that I’m slowly increasing my mileage in order to train for my half marathon in January – my normal 30 minute runs are still there, but now I’ve also got the occasional 60-90 minute runs as well. I’m avoiding taking Julia out with me if at all possible, and I can only manage to squeeze in a short run without her before taking Emily to school once or twice a week. That leaves about 3-4 days a week I’m not running at all. And on (some of) those days, I Zumba. 😉
A year or so ago a friend turned me on to Zumba 2 on the Wii, and I fell in love immediately. It’s a super fun way to get your body moving (that sounds like a cheesy infomercial line), and I seriously have the best time doing it. Since I don’t have time to get to a live class (and even if I could I’d feel completely ridiculous doing it), it’s the perfect solution. I get to look like a fool in the privacy of my home anytime that’s convenient for me. 😀
I’ve read that it’s not good to only focus on one type of exercise – you should never just be a swimmer, dancer, weightlifter, runner, etc. It’s important to exercise the muscles I don’t use as much while running, as well as give my primary running muscles a break from time to time. Ideally you would want to balance a high-impact activity with a low-impact activity (running is high-impact, so you should consider balancing it with swimming or yoga, both low-impact). I’m kinda breaking this rule with Zumba, since it’s not really a low-impact workout, but since the dances aren’t too repetitive and I can choose the intensity of my workout, I go with it. I’m hoping that once Julia starts school next year I’ll be able to throw swimming into my workouts too.
For now though, this is working really well for me. The game has different options of play: you can choose to work out to individual songs or take a “class,” which has songs in a pre-arranged set for you. There are three different class lengths, but so far I’ve only completed the short and mid-length classes. The mid-length class is 45 minutes long, so I’m a little afraid of the long class… I think I need to build up a bit more stamina before I’m ready for that one. You can see the difference in the number of calories burned in a short class (Tuesday) versus a mid-length class (Wednesday) in the photo below… I can’t even imagine how many calories you’d burn in a longer class!
Once you finish a class (or individual song if you choose to go that route) the game tells you how well your technique was, how many calories you burned, and your score. It also gives you a rating based on your technique. Throughout the song you can earn stars for accuracy. Five stars makes you a Zumba Legend. Ladies and gentlemen: I am a Zumba Legend. 🙂
Jay joins in on the fun from time to time, and the girls really love to workout with me too. It definitely took a little practice for me to get the hang of it, but now that I’ve got it I’m totally hooked!
PS – If you’re wondering why my character name is Nellie, Emily and I had just finished reading Charlotte’s Web when I set up my Zumba profile… it’s a nod to one of the characters in the book. 🙂