If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’ve been battling injury since beginning to train for my first half marathon in November. Not being able to run has been tough; physically, my body is adjusting to a decrease in activity and mentally, I’m really struggling with where I am and how to stay motivated. It’s tough.
On Sunday, I went for an easy two mile run to see where I was at. For the past week, I did not run at all. I focused on cross-training and took a break from running in hopes that the time would give myself time to heal a bit. I would say overall, it worked. I ran two miles, at a much slower pace than usual (about 11:00/mile), but without a lot of pain. I’m being cautiously optimistic about my half marathon. I’m only going to run 3-4 days (at most) and see where I am come November.
One thing I will be focusing on in place of running 5-6 times per week is cross training. What is cross-training? Cross-training means that you’re including different types of workouts into your training or exercise plan. So, even though I’m training for a half marathon, I shouldn’t be running all the time. Instead, I should be including different types of cardio and strength training to balance out my overall training plan.
What are the benefits of cross-training? Well I went to Runner’s World cross training page to get the expert opinion for ya’ll:
- Improve overall fitness
- Injury prevention and rehabilitation
- Quicker recovery
- Boredom Buster
What cross-training am I going to do?
- Circuit Training: Increasing overall body strength is super important for runners; particularly, core strength is an area to focus on. I’ve been re-introducing strength training into my workouts and notice a big difference!
- Elliptical: The elliptical is my go to cardio machine for cross training. I love running, but sometimes it’s nice to jump on the elliptical, set my resistance and just watch TV while I exercise. It’s a low impact alternative to running and will continue to be my #1 choice in cross training.
- Stationary Bike: So, Jessi has started riding a real bike and I thought I would try the stationary bike at the gym. Fun fact: it was way tougher than I thought it would be! Biking is great because again, it’s low impact, and all focuses on different muscles in your legs. I want to try riding the bike at least once a week to switch things up a bit!
- Walking: I love walking. Since saying goodbye to Charlie, I’ve stopped walking regularly and really miss it (and the tone it gave to my legs). Walking is often overlooked in training (on both running and cross-training days), but it still a great exercise to consider!
When I started training, I overlooked cross training a bit, which I feel was a mistake. My PT told me (and I think I agree) that Hal Higden’s training plan is quite aggressive and possibly leaves newbies open to injury because it only allows for one rest day and a lot of running. I’m not blaming my training plan AT ALL, but do think that to maintain my health, that I will be cutting back on running and incorporating a lot more cross training.
I’m planning on putting together a workout plan each week and will adjust as needed, depending on how I’m feeling. At this point, I need to focus on my health, so I’m taking things one day at a time and hope that my body figures itself out!
Articles to Check Out!
- What’s your favorite way to cross train?
- Favorite strength workouts to do?