Cross-training? What’s that?

It’s not a secret that cross-training (biking, yoga, strength training etc) can help your running performance.  At the outset of my half marathon training, I was really good about getting to the gym once or twice a week to “pump iron” or hit the elliptical.  But as the weather got nicer, those gym trips became more sporadic, and then stopped altogether.  I realized recently that the only “cross-training” I’ve been doing for the last two months is riding my bike to and from work.  While that’s great, and certainly better than nothing, I could probably benefit from doing some strength training too.

I have had a membership at the local Planet Fitness for a while, but it’s just far enough away that Ben and I find it a pain in the butt to get over there.  And as I’m sure you know, PF isn’t exactly the cutting edge as far as gyms go–weights, a circuit training area, and cardio–not terribly stimulating.  So basically, I’ve been paying $10 a month to NOT work out.

The good news is, through my job I can get a discounted corporate membership with a local fitness company that has FIVE different locations in the area.  For $40 a month, I have access to all 5 facilities, which include:

  • Lap Pools
  • Aqua Classes
  • Spinning
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Indoor track (!!!)
  • Les Mills
  • Zumba
  • Hot tub

And more!  So, I finally bit the bullet and signed up.  One of the locations is about a 5 minute walk from my office, and one is halfway between Ben’s parents’ place and my office.  I’m really excited about the opportunity to try Zumba and Body Pump, and have access to an indoor track for speed work and rainy day runs.  I’m also hoping the fact that I’m paying significantly more per month will force me to actually go a couple of times a week.  I guess we’ll see about that!

I’m really excited to see what kind of impact additional cross-training will have on my running.  Before we left Massachusetts, I was attending several strength and conditioning classes a week in addition to running, and I was really strong.  I’ve already talked a bit about how I’ve gained some weigh since moving back to Vermont (and no, it’s not muscle, trust me), so I’m hopeful that mixing up my routine will also help me get back to where I started weight-wise.

Do you have a gym membership?

What’s your favorite form of cross-training?

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18 thoughts on “Cross-training? What’s that?

  1. SuzLyfe says:

    NNNNNiiiice. Seriously, that is rockin. The worst possible thing is to have a gym membership or something of the like and just let it go to waste and be all eh whatever because you don’t care. And going to a gym that you really like makes all the difference. My fav cross training is obviously yoga and spinning. I used to do a lot of kickboxing too, but for running, yoga is probably the most beneficial for me. And spinning on a spin bike is one of the best cardio strength training options for runners–in or out of the saddle, depending on how much rest you need. If you do water running, you have to take a legit picture like i did 😀

    • DarlinRae says:

      I may do water aerobics, lol! And will absolutely take a ridiculous photo.

      I’ve never taken a spin class, but I’m pretty sure they have spin at my new gym too–I’ll have to check it out. I’m so excited to try new things!

  2. runsaltrun says:

    Talk about bang for your buck. That sounds great! I go to a super cheap no-frills gym and I wish it had a pool and better classes at times when I could actually go to them. I will be needing a full report on how much you love it!

    My fave ways to cross train are bike, yoga, and barre. Good thing since that’s all I can really do right now!

  3. greenmountainlife says:

    $40 a month for that place is a damn steal, I’m jealous! My office building has a little gym in it that is $10 a month, no frills but it’s convenient and sort of work place culture to use it at lunch time which is really nice. I have taken advantage of some summer deals at a spinning studio and a barre studio so that is what the majority of my cross-training has been which I love!

    • DarlinRae says:

      My old office had a gym in it, and it was so convenient! I miss being able to get a workout in at lunch time!

      I’ve always been curious about barre–I’ve taken a couple of beginner’s ballet classes and they’re actually pretty good workouts!

  4. dgobs says:

    Nice! The non-PF gym sounds pretty sweet! There’s a gym at work that I’ve had a few short-term memberships at, but the locations aren’t very convenient, I don’t want to get up in time to go before work, don’t want to stay at work late to go after, and going during lunch is quite a challenge, so I’ve let the membership lapse. It has an indoor track too… maybe this winter when I’m (hopefully) still training regularly I’ll join up again.

    I am TERRIBLE at cross-training. Because I don’t go to the gym, I can’t take advantage of ellipticals or stationary bikes (both of which I love to use), and I don’t own a real bike because I’m scared to death of riding around anywhere near where I live. I haven’t found a yoga teacher/studio I like either. (Man I’m picky 🙂 ) I need to get better at doing some weights and core stuff at home! I’m also looking into starting up playing soccer again… that counts, right? 😉

    • DarlinRae says:

      Soccer definitely counts–it’s lots of sprints, so that’s practically speedwork, amiright? I definitely need to commit to being active more often, because these sporadic bursts aren’t really doing anything for my overall fitness level.

      I totally hear what you’re saying about being terrified to ride a bike in the Boston area–I never did, and probably never will. Even here in VT, traffic can get a little nutty, and people (bikers, drivers and pedestrians) don’t pay attention to their surroundings at all–scary!

  5. Darlene says:

    No. I have in the past but I never went (except in the beginning.) I am terrible with cross-training. I do yoga fro time to time but I am sure I need more.

    • DarlinRae says:

      I imagine yoga is really beneficial for you–I know I’m not great about doing a thorough stretch after runs, and I often have tight calves and sore glutes.

  6. veryrach says:

    That gym sounds awesome!! That’s a great price for a place that offers so much. It sounds like my college fitness center that I miss very much. I belong to PF, but I use the Black Membership which allows you to go to any location which is very helpful! Other than that my favorite “cross training” is trail running or hiking in the woods! PA has lots and lots of woods : )

    • DarlinRae says:

      I love hiking, and wish I got to do more of it! Ben and I are going to try to hike Mt. Mansfield here in VT before the summer is over. There are so many hiking trails here and so many I’ve never done!

  7. candies & crunches says:

    That sounds great! Just like you, I prefer to exercise outside in summer, so I don’t even sign up for these 3 months. That being said, I am really missing classes and lifting weights at home is not the same (partially because my collection consists of 2 8-pound dumbbells… that’s it! lol!). Eventually, when my hubby and I buy a bigger house (in plans lol), I’d love to have the basement dedicated to all that fun stuff and that’s when my collection will most likely grow. All of the facilities you’ll have access too sound awesome. Just another encouragement for me to start looking around for a better (and closer – just like you, mine was just far enough to skip lol) gym in my area. xoxo Olena

    • DarlinRae says:

      Someday, I totally want a home gym–then there’s absolutely no excuse for skipping a workout! But until we have our own place (and a lot more money!), I’m very happy that I get a discount to such a great facility 🙂 I hope you can find a better and closer one!

  8. irishrunnerchick says:

    That sounds great! I like weights and yoga for cross-training, and will hop on the elliptical if I need to do some cardio. I use the gym at the university where I work – it’s super cheap and convenient. But I would love a fancier place with more classes and a freakin’ hot tub!

    • DarlinRae says:

      Convenience is a big factor. At my old job, there was a gym in the building, so I actually went 3-4 times a week. Now I have to force myself to get there. At least the new place is about 1/2 mile away from my office, so it’s a lot easier.

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