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Exercise the Brain

In 1999 a California scientist made an amazing discovery: Rats that ran on a treadmill for 12 days in a row doubled their number of brain cells. This was considered such an astounding finding at the time that the Salk Institute researchers who made the discovery all took up running.

We now know that, like rats, humans have the ability to reproduce brain cells through aerobic activity. (The process is called neurogenesis.)   From Dr. Melillo, Disconnected Kids

The Next Step in Training

Ideally you will spend at least the first 3 months of your training building the aerobic base by exercising purely in the zone discussed in “The Heart Rate That You Should Train At” post. Then, and only then if you are seeking to perform at a more race type level you should begin to add in some “interval” type training. This is training above, or well above the target heart zone for very specific, intentional, short periods. Training at higher intensities basically breaks the body down to cause growth, strength, or speed gains. This helps the body to become more efficient in clearing lactic acid. The caveat is that the body then needs to appropriately repair, which takes longer depending on life stress levels and age. i.e. At my current work load and age, I do 1-3 higher intensity, interval workouts per week during race season. Being well into my 4th decade of life I also need to balance this with a week of all aerobic exercise (no intervals) at least once per month. Believe it or not, by adding more true aerobic training you will progress and get faster, faster. Enjoy the process. Next we’ll give ways of tracking your progress.