Cross Training is Key

During our training process we’ve discovered the importance of cross training. Not just as a way to break up our running or keep in shape, but as a way to prevent injuries. Constantly pounding the pavement can put stress on your body and cause injuries, here’s what we’re doing to prevent that.

What do you do for cross training?

 Amy: For me, cross training comes in the form of playing sports. I have a hard time sticking with exercise programs because I get bored with them. If it’s fun for me, I don’t think of it as working out. I’ve recently started playing hockey again, and getting back on the ice once a week is proving to be great cardio, it also showed me how out of shape I was…

 Kate: I don’t have a dedicated “program,” but I like to keep a lot of variety in my exercise. I don’t run every time I work out! I’m not big on weight training unless I have someone telling me what to do. Instead, I try to do some basic core exercises, like planks and mountain-climbers, to complement my running workouts. On top of that, I like to make some time for yoga or Pilates on a regular basis, even if it’s just a few Sun Salutes when I can’t get to a class. Podcasts and online videos are great when the same old routine gets boring!

Is there anything new you want to try? Why?

 A: I’ve always wanted to try yoga! (Maybe Kate can teach me…) In the beginning of summer I had this great plan, I was going to walk every morning, go to free Monday night Zumba® classes, play hockey once a week, and keep up with my running program. I quickly realized that was too much too fast. Right now I’m focused on training for the 10K, but I would still like to try out Zumba or Yoga for new cross training ideas.

K: This feels like a cop out, but no, there isn’t! Training for a 5K in itself is the new thing I’m trying. I want to focus on developing myself as a runner first, and then figure out how I can get faster and stronger. As long as I’m stretching, remembering to work on my core strength occasionally, and staying hydrated, I’m on track with my goals. When I’ve got all that on lock, then we’ll talk about something new!

Can you feel the benefits of it?

A: Yes! I don’t know if it’s the hockey that’s helping my running, or my running that’s helping with hockey, but it’s definitely getting easier to breathe, keep up, and stay on pace. I’ve also started walking almost every day on lunch and I’m noticing I have a lot more energy and I’m sleeping better.

 K: I’m starting from scratch rather than focusing on improving times or distance, so it’s tough to say. When I focus on strength and endurance outside of running, it makes a world of difference in terms of how easily I get through workouts and how much harder I push each day compared to the last. I also think it extends beyond just cross training. When I’m eating and sleeping well, I see huge, immediate benefits in my stamina and will power. Does that mean sleeping counts as cross training?

Training Update

 A: I just started week 4 of my 10K program and I’m pretty impressed with myself. Mainly because this is the longest I’ve ever stuck to a training program. Usually I get discouraged after two weeks and give up because I’m not faster, I haven’t lost any weight, I haven’t been able to increase my distance, etc. I’m not making excuses anymore, I’m going out and running which is a big accomplishment for me. And it’s getting easier now that I’m working in stretches and increasing my endurance!

K: This past week was challenging. We went for runs later in the day than usual, which I did not love. Now I know that I don’t like to run at dusk—we can’t run the trails in the dark, which means trying to find somewhere well lit. And dusk usually means mosquitos. I’m working through some unrelated injuries and trying not to do anything dumb. I feel behind where I wanted to be, but I’m also patting myself on the back for listening to my body and not overdoing it. 

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