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.