Tag Archives: cross-training

and so it begins…

Well, this past week was my last week of training as I please…getting workouts in as I can, staying in shape just enough, and being able to skip a workout or too if I was just too tired or had too many other things going on.

This week begins the workout plan. I’ve got 3 months until a half-marathon. I am feeling ready to go and ready to train. I got in two great runs this past weekend. I have been doing a much better job at staying steady on longer runs, and working harder on my tempo runs. Also, something that has really been helping is being sure to run when I have time. When I try to fit working out in between other activities, the feeling of being rushed stresses me out and I don’t really enjoy the workout much, if at all.

This week will be a challenge as it is the first week in the training plan I am following, so it is has a few days of cross training. I like to get hard workouts in as much as possible, and need to work on realizing that switching workouts actually is helpful and makes you stronger.

If you have been thinking about doing a race, and want to join me, starting this week, here’s the plan for this week:

Monday: cross-training
Tuesday: 2 miles, 5-7X1:00 intervals, 2 miles
Wednesday: cross-training
Thursday: 4 miles, 4 pickups
Friday: cross-training
Saturday: 3-4 miles
Sunday: 6-7 miles

Now that my schedule has changed yet again, I am sure that I will hit a few roadblocks that will challenge me as I figure out when to fit a workout in…but hey, it is nothing I can’t work with! There are a ton of exciting things happening in the next few months, and running and getting ready for the June half-marathon is just one of them.

April 5 – it’s time to get motivated…and stay committed! Who’s with me?!

Time for bed…long day ahead tomorrow, and of course there is a cross-training workout to fit in 🙂

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learning how to be a well-rounded athlete: part 1

Cross-training days have been going well, for the most part. My biggest problem: making them as effective as they can possibly be. That probably makes you ask, “well, then why are you bothering with the cross-training workouts if they’re not effective?” or “why are you slacking?”

My problem isn’t that I’m not trying to be effective or even that I am slacking. My problem is that I know for some of my cross training (weight lifting, muscle conditioning, and things of that nature) I simply do not know how to do it properly so I am not getting the most of out those workouts.

The solution to this problem seems obvious: learn how to do it the right way, and start being the most effective you possibly can. Duh!

Well, that seems simple enough, but let me ask you: when was the last time you were in the gym and it was easy to learn how to use the machines or how to lift weights properly? Unless you are a female and there is a man who is good looking and looks like he could support every single one of your purse and shoe buying habits (and looks like he would be nice enough to interrupt his workout to help you), you are most likely not going to ask some other random person to help you. Ok, and let’s be honest…even if you are female and that guy is there, you are still probably not going to ask him for help either. My point is: it is not the easiest thing in the world to learn how to properly do exercises.

I want to learn how to do things the right way, and have them be effective as well. So, lucky for me…I have a few personal training sessions coming up and my personal trainer knows that this where I really want to work the hardest and learn the most. I have one person dedicated to me, during the time I spend with him, to teaching me how to do these things. Now, I know that most people are not going to run out and get a personal trainer (in fact, I will be completely honest and let you know that I would not be working with one if the first couple sessions were not free). I’m not saying you should either, or that you even need to. However, this has made me think about all of the times I have talked with people who mention the same thing I have mentioned: “I don’t really use the machines or lift  weights, or anything like that because I don’t really know how and I don’t know who to ask; but, I wish I knew because I feel like that would be good for me.”

That being said, there have got to be ways to learn how to use machines other than hiring a personal trainer, right? Can’t think of what these “ways” might be? Let me help…let’s think about it:

1.) Grab a friend just as clueless as you are. If you guys head to the gym together, you can have a partner in crime to figure out the machines right along with you. No worries about feeling dumb, because you’re with someone else and having fun figuring everything out together.

2.) Grab a friend who is in the know. You always try to figure out how that one friend of yours stays in such good shape. He/she always talks about going to the gym. You know they do some lifting, do some circuit training, and know how to do it the right way, so why not ask them to go join you in the gym for a day or two, or even more? You guys could end up training together even after that, who knows? Or, at the very least it will be time you get to spend with your friend while getting in shape, too–kill two birds with one stone!

3.) Ask a trainer, other gym employee, or someone using the machine. Did we forget why most people work at their place of employment? Most people apply to places they are interested in, doing something they enjoy at least a bit and are knowledgeable about. That goes for gym employees and trainers too! Take a step outside of your comfort zone and ask a trainer or other gym employee if they have a second to show you how to use a machine or two that you are curious about. Chances are they will be more than happy to help. If they are busy, they will probably refer  you to another person who is not busy at the moment or will offer to help you as soon as they can.

Another option here is to ask someone who is using the machine you want to use. Does the person using it look pretty friendly, like they might not mind taking a minute or two from their workout to help you out? When they are resting (obviously not in the middle of their hard work) ask if they would mind showing you how to use the machine, and if you might be able to watch their next set of reps so you can see how it is done properly. More often than not, the person will actually take it is a compliment that you are asking them for help.

4.) Go late. Belong to a 24-hour gym? Or, one that is open pretty late? Usually the crowds start to wane off around 9pm during the week. After that, the number of the people working out is minimal, which means you have less people looking at you (which people probably aren’t anyway, even when there are a lot more people there). You have a nearly empty facility to figure things out on your own, read the direction on the machine, and get a solid workout in! Before you know it, you won’t be afraid to head to the gym any time of day, busy or not, because you’ll feel confident and comfortable getting in just the workout that you want to.

Hopefully this helps, and you can start achieving even more of your goals at the gym! Now, get out there and get it done 🙂

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Cross-train & Stay Injury Free

Learning how and when to cross-train is one of the most important parts of exercising. I have learned during my experiences as an athlete, cross-training is not only effective in helping to build a stronger core and get you in better physical shape overall, but it also helps keep you injury free.

My knees have always been a problem area for me, and the impact from figure skating was certainly not a helping factor in this area. Thank goodness for physical therapy back in the day, though, as I have been able to learn from that and put to good use the exercises that I used to do at physical therapy.

Since I have started my training regimen in advance for the Detroit marathon in October, so that I have a solid base to work from when the strict training begins, I want to make sure that I keep myself healthy and hopefully keep myself free of any injury. For me, this especially means paying attention to, and taking extra care of, my feet and knees.

Just a few days ago marked the one year anniversary of having my second foot surgery. That means I am at nearly full recovery, but if I want to be sure to be at full recovery and maintain movement in my joint I need to pay attention to everything.

That being said, since I ran a race yesterday and my foot has been slightly bothering me lately I still wanted to get my workout in today, but I didn’t want to overdo it. Now, when I say that it has been bothering me, let me give you a better idea: basically, where the surgery was done it is still a bit tender and I am more aware of that area of my foot, if you will. As long as I ice it and nurse it, I can still use it and bring it to 100% recovery. So, in keeping with cross-training and staying injury free I did an easy run today along with a bike workout.

The great thing about bike workouts as cross-training is that bikes can work your whole body. Even better for me, biking is good for strengthening your knees and has a low impact on your feet. By working the mobility in your knees and hips, and strengthening your quad muscles, your lower body gets a good alignment and strength workout. Depending on what kind of bike you are on and how you are sitting, it is possibly that your upper body will get a workout too.

Remembering that cross-training days are just as important as running days is important. It doesn’t just take the ability to run to complete a marathon, but it takes patience, strength, and endurance just to name a few. Cross-training will help you become a better runner and it will help you keep your activity level up while keeping your risk for injury down.

Cross-training day…success.

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four-mile night run

Yes, I was a bit sore today from yesterday’s long run. Yes, I drank a ton of water today. No, that was not going to stop me today.

Kelly and I went to the outlets today and had a nice afternoon…it was a great day out! We headed to the Reebok store to look and see what kind of good deals we could find. I got some great new apparel for running. Unfortunately, they did not have any of the running capris that I absolutely love, but they did have long sleeve running tops with thumbholes (and I bought 3!).

We had a delicious lunch on the patio at BJ’s Brewery–I had a BBQ pulled pork sandwich w/ crispy onions on it and it was incredibly delicious.

So, what more do you need than a good afternoon and new running apparel to get you pumped up for a run? Well, when I got home and got my mail a new issue of Runner’s World in my mailbox certainly helped increase the excitement even more!

I got a few things done, took a cat nap, and met everyone at the pier for a night run. We got in a good four miles tonight and I still am feeling great. I am attributing to feeling better during my runs a lot to my food and drink habits lately–what a difference it makes!

Tomorrow will certainly be a cross-training day so that I can keep the cardio up and workouts in my routine, but I also want to allow my body to rest and recover as well.

I hope everyone is training well, eating well, and taking on new exercise challenges!! I hope you’re enjoying this blog too, and if you have any feedback feel free to let me know.

4-mile night run…success.

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