I resolve to do cardio (3/4)

How running weekly translates to better strength workouts

Athletes know accountability matters. Committing to a specific plan and regularly assessing progress is crucial to success. But all too often, goals go rogue in January, falling under the category of lofty (often unrealistic) New Year’s resolutions that end up unmet. That’s why we introduced the antidote: The Resolution Diaries. Each week we follow three Equinox trainers on their personal journeys through the first 30 days of resolution season. They pen both progress and pitfalls in working toward change in a meaningful way.

Get to know all the participants here.

The pro: Matt Berenc, CSCS, director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute

Week three update: “Now that I am back in LA, my resolution to run again is starting to get fun. I have three outdoor runs in the books this week, which was my original goal. My stride feels smoother, I’m not sucking wind as bad, and it's more meditative. This doesn’t mean it’s easy, but I definitely feel way better than I did on my first run.

One key thing I have noticed is that my pace time has improved. In the first week, my average was an 8:29 mile. This week that has dropped to an 8:10 mile. There are a couple factors driving my improvement. First, and likely most important, is neuromuscular efficiency. In short, my nervous system is getting more efficient at coordinating my muscles to produce the movement pattern.

​It goes to show that positive change will happen if you stick to the plan. People often expect results now and when that doesn’t happen they ‘program jump’ thinking something new will be the ticket to success. That isn’t how the body works; it needs time to be challenged and to adapt in order to see improvement.

The second element driving my success is better cardiovascular endurance. Three weeks later, multiple systems in my body are adapting to the stress of running and getting better at managing it. And the benefits have also translated to my other workouts. Even though my primary focus is on cardio, I am still playing with kettlebells here and there and having more endurance is supporting those workouts.

Next week, one of my goals will be to push the pace even more. Since we are coming close to the end of the month, I plan on doing some speed intervals every other quarter mile where I'll pick up the pace to around an eight-minute mile.

More From Berenc: I Resolve to Do Cardio (1/4), I Resolve to Do Cardio (2/4),I Resolve to Do Cardio (4/4)* Check back on 1/29.