- Cardio Fitness – that’s the huffing part.
- Structural Fitness – that’s the aching parts.
Cardio fitness is to do with the fitness of your heart and lungs – essentially it is how efficient they are. After all we basically need air to live and do everything. If the big pump (heart) and air reservoir (lungs) are optimized then your cardiovascular fitness is operating well and running (or any exercise) will feel easy.
Structural Fitness is the condition of your muscles, joints and all the other parts of your body that are doing all the moving when the Cardio engine is pumping.
It is a lack of Cardio fitness that makes most non-runners feel that it must be impossible to run anything more than a couple of kilometers, let alone a marathon. “Hang! I’m huffing and panting just when I get up from the dinner table, and sweating like a Turkish wrestler after walking up the road, there is just no way I could run a half or full marathon!” The hardest part of training is developing the cardio fitness. But the good news is that this fitness is quickly acquired and by Week 2 or 3 of a half or full marathon training program (assuming you started with the required 5km (3 mile) core fitness the cardio fitness required by most marathon training programs issues will be minimal.
By the time you develop your marathon fitness your cardio fitness feels easier and easier, and with rest your structural fitness also starts to feel easier, making running a marathon or half marathon much easier than what most non-runners are led to believe.