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?

Race Prep?

On Saturday night, I will be running my first race since November 2012.  It’s only a 5k (it’s absolutely insane to me that I can say “only” when talking about 3.1 miles), so I’m not really doing any race prep, per se.  I’m staying hydrated (which I normally do), trying to get plenty of sleep (which I normally do), and eating normally.  I’ll run my scheduled 4 miles tonight at a normal pace and then that will be it until the race.

I had said previously that I didn’t have any goals going into this race, but I guess that’s no longer true.  I’d like to PR (last official 5k time was 31:31).  I’d also REALLY like to get under 30 minutes.  I’m trying to remember, however, that my ultimate goal is to complete a half marathon.  If I go in guns blazing for a 5k, I could potentially injure myself and throw off my training.  So really, the idea is to run at my normal short run pace and have fun.

dwightIn other news, I did an upper body session with my buddy Andrew last night.  He’s my friend, Aimee’s husband, he’s a PE teacher, and he’s a BEAST!  They have a bunch of workout equipment in their basement and they live about a 10 minute drive away, so it was more convenient than going to the gym.  The session lasted over an hour, which is unusual for me anyway, but it was also absolutely the most intense weight lifting session I’ve ever done–I got my butt kicked!  While I’m really sore at the moment, I loved it.  Andrew is very knowledgeable, and super positive, so he’s a great workout partner.  Of course, I can’t lift my arms above my head at the moment, but that will pass!  I’m excited to hopefully keep up these lifting sessions.  Andrew kept saying, “Just wait till leg day…” *gulp*

Do you incorporate strength training?  Do you lift alone, or with a partner?

Sunday Summary–03/16/14

Instead of doing daily workout posts (so boring), I’m going to do a recap every Sunday.  I plan to also throw in fun things that happened during the week, some food porn, and other randomness.  So, without further ado, the inaugural Sunday Summary:

Monday:  Walked 2 miles to work; 40 minutes strength training and stretching (bench press, squats, leg press, row, pull-ups, abs)

Tuesday:  Walked 2 miles to work; ran 3 treadmill miles on a hill setting (level 2), at 5.5mph, and finished up with lots of stretching–my hips are SUPER tight!

Wednesday:  Walked 2 miles to work;  Since it was super snowy, I didn’t make it to the gym. Instead, I shoveled for 15 minutes, then did some arm work  at home (pushups, dips, shoulder press, biceps curls, triceps curls, bent over row with kickback)

Thursday:  Walked 2 miles to work through CRAZY snow.  Then after all my complaining, the sun came out in the afternoon and it stopped snowing, so I actually made it to the gym. I ran 3.1 miles, between 5.5 and 5.7mph, did some assisted pull-ups, and lots of stretching.

Faster than Tuesday!

Faster than Tuesday!

Friday:  Rest day.  I started out walking to work, but my friend Andrea drove by and offered me a ride.  Since it was only 9* out, I accepted gratefully.  I did walk 2 miles home, though.

Saturday:  I got up early and hit the gym to get my 4 mile run in so that we could enjoy the rest of the day.  This is the longest run I’ve done in over a year and I was really nervous, but I seem to have found my stride lately, because it felt great!  Although I did end up with some gnarly blisters.  Guess I need some new socks!

Sunday:  Rest day.  Ben and I are house-sitting in a pretty rural area, so I REALLY rested.  We drove Fran (my friend’s grandmother who we are “watching” in addition to house-sitting) to Church, then watched TV and knitted most of the day.  We did end up taking Annie (cute little Jack Russell) for about a mile walk.

I’m really proud of myself because I hit my goal mileage for training, and I did a fair amount of cross-training too.  Week one of half-marathon training in the bag!

How was your week?  Did you hit all your goals?