Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cross Training is KEY!

     A few of my friends and followers have asked about my cross training, so I thought I would do a full post on what I do each week. As a runner, I have always included cross training as part of my training. Unfortunately, I have not always been as faithful to it as I should. I have learned my lesson and am seeing the tremendous benefits cross training has brought to me, particularly during my recent injury as I was continuing to prepare for my upcoming marathon. I did not want to lose any fitness and needed to keep my body strong so that it would be able to handle the distance. Well, if you read my post about the WDW Marathon, then you know it all worked! Here is what my routine looks like.

                          My Weekly Schedule:
Monday: Strength Training & Pilates
Tuesday: Yoga & Run
Wednesday: Strength Training & Pilates
Thursday: Yoga & Run
Friday: Strength Training & Pilates
Saturday: Long Run
Sunday: Yoga

Strength Training:
     My strength training consists of mostly upper body work. With my recent shin splint issue, I have added a few exercises with resistance bands to help keep my shins strong. I have a routine I go through with each workout. It never changes. I add weight or reps as I get stronger or in the case of reps, if I have more time to workout! 
Received this when I bought my weight bench at Target.
     I used the chart that came with my weight bench to develop my routine. I've added various exercises from magazine articles. There are so many different moves you can do and so many tools you can use! I have been buying weights over the years as I get stronger. I'm up to 10 pounders now but I don't use them for every exercise. Some may laugh at this light weight but I like my results! I'm not hurting myself or making myself so weak I can't function the rest of the day!
My various weights, resistance bands, an 8lb. medicine ball & yoga block
     I also have learned that the body is not in perfect health at all times so keeping those lighter weights around is a great idea for recovery from injury! My weight training on average now takes about 30 minutes. I started with 20 minutes and have worked up to this by adding various exercises. I also include incline push-ups and dips in this routine - no weights needed! I would love to be able to do a set of REAL push-ups one day but my body is not there yet!

     Also part of my strength training day is a session of Pilates which usually lasts about 45 minutes. I do this right after my weight routine. I swear by Pilates if you 1) want to help with back pain and 2) if you want abs! Mine are pretty tight - just gotta lose the layer of "fat" to reveal a little more! Who doesn't, right? One caution with Pilates though is that you must use proper form or you will hurt your back! I started with the basic Windsor Pilates DVD and added a few extra moves over the years. The DVD explains proper form and after doing it so many times you will start to hear her voice in your head even when not using the DVD! I basically memorized the routine but also wrote down the moves just in case I forgot.
How my obsession started!
     I have a book that explains all about Pilates, who Joseph Pilates was (yes, that's where the name comes from - a real person!), and great photographs and descriptions of poses to help you do it right. After being told recently that I had "weak hips" and that it would affect my running, I have added some poses from this book as well as a few basic moves to increase hip strength. I'll try anything to get stronger and stay away from another injury!!!
Great book for really understanding Pilates
     This is the one area where I need more consistency! I have been told by several sources that yoga is the perfect compliment exercise for runners. There are books, DVDs and recently I have even seen classes that are offered that are all named some variation on "Yoga for Runners." I have been doing yoga for almost 20 years! I jumped on the bandwagon in my late teens and never got off! I started with a VHS tape at home and went to a few yoga classes at my local YMCA. Recently, I have attended a few classes that are offered for free at my local Lululemon store. These have been really fun because they host a different studio each month so you can try different types of yoga to see which you like best. It also introduces you to local studios and teachers in case you decide you really want to attend classes.
     I have used the same video for years. Again, I have memorized the entire routine so I no longer use the video.
Yea, I know - Kathy Smith? It's a good video though!
I have my own playlist I downloaded from iTunes years ago that makes me feel all -"Eat, Pray, Love" I'm in India at an ashram-like. I love it!
My Yoga Playlist
     My goal each week is to do my full yoga routine the morning of each of my run days. I then run after work in the evenings. That does not always happen (darn bed!) but that is the goal! I also have a yoga app on my iPhone called "Yoga for Runners" that I use after every run. It is a short 15 minute post-run yoga routine and it stretches me out perfectly! Sometimes I just want to get cleaned up or eat after my run but I always make time for this. It is so short there is no excuse for me not to! I am always glad I did the routine!
Great app for pre & post run yoga guidance!
     As with my Pilates routine, over the years I have added extra poses to my yoga practice. Sometimes I just want to try something new or challenge myself. So I have several other DVD routines and a great book to help me get the poses right! One of my favorites when I want to do more than just stretch and meditate is my Yoga Crunch DVD. It's a great workout and there are some really challenging moves! Yes, you can really work up a sweat with yoga and this DVD will do that!
Great Yoga workout!

Excellent book for learning new poses or refining old ones
    With my recent injury I did add swimming to my routine. It is a great workout if you can get access to a pool. My local college campus has one and they offer cheap rates. It was wonderful for keeping my heart and lungs, not to mention the rest of my body, ready for the marathon. Having a low-impact go to exercise like swimming is an excellent way to cross train your body and let it rest from the pounding! I hope to "fit it in" more in the future if for nothing else than to rest my joints and get a great full body workout!
     As you've probably figured out by now, almost every workout I do is from the comfort of my own home. I honestly cannot afford to do it any other way. There is no excuse for not working out when you have your own materials right there in your house. And it really is a lot cheaper in the long run. I have built up my collection over the years. You certainly do not need to run out and buy six sets of weights, fifteen DVDs and a weight bench. Start small and build. I do belong to a gym, Planet Fitness, but I use it only for their cardio equipment on bad weather days or for injury recovery. They are really inexpensive and they do not offer classes. I would love to be a member of a big box gym that offers all the latest classes because I think it would be really fun to be able to try them all out. Right now, that's just not in the cards. I'm quite happy with my "home" results though and will continue to work on consistency. It truly is key in getting the results you want!

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