Is cross training the answer?
Cross Training can evoke a number of different reactions from a runner. For myself, it is met with memories of sitting for hours each week on a stationary bike in Jadwin Gymnasium only to be followed by a quick actual bike ride to the pool for some swimming or aqua jogging.(the pool work was on my more ambitious days) But my memories tend to be jaded as they were mixed with years of Achilles problems and stress fractures. For many, cross training can be a very positive part of their week. A nice swim can break up a week of running on the roads. Many people can benefit by substituting cross-training for some of their weekly mileage. This could mean skipping a run and hopping on a bike to get some "work" in or quite the opposite, adding a bike session in the morning to supplement your running. Either way, there is probably a good chance cross training has a part in your fitness plan.
Below are some types of cross training but feel free to let us know your favorites.
Type of Cross Training
Stationary Biking I have a mixed relationship with stationary bikes. For two years of college, largely the first two, all I did at practice was stationary bike and go to the gym. If you know me, the gym was at best a once a week every other week kind of deal. That meant I had a lot of time to spend on the stationary bike. In my countless hours on the bike, I learned a couple of things...
Biking with friends is always better than biking alone. A good conversation with a teammate can get you through some of the toughest times in life. For me finishing a 90-minute bike ride was the toughest part of most Sunday mornings. I am forever grateful to guys like Peter Callahan and James Webb for providing me company on those long rides. A 90-minute ride turned into a 90-minute conversation that left you fitter and smarter from talking to older wise teammates.
Buy the bike shorts. If you are going to be on the bike for any sizable amount of time it's worth investing in a pair of biking shorts. Trust me your behind will thank you later.
If your friends are out running and your left alone don't be afraid to plug in! Use your favorite album or podcast as a way to get through the ride. There is nothing wrong with having the Goo Goo Dolls blasting while you kill an interval work out on the bike.
Types of workouts
10 min warm-up 3x5 min tempo then 5x 30 seconds on 30 seconds off 10 min cool-down
10 min warm-up pyramid workout of 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1, 1 min rest throughout intervals. 10 min cool-down
Swimming I was a bad swimmer, I am a bad swimmer, and will continue to be a bad swimmer. But when you break your foot its one of the only games in town. My advice for swimming is two part. Ask someone who swims how to make it better and if you are going to do it do it often because otherwise, it's the hardest form of cross training, IMO, to get the hang of.
Aqua Jogging The middle ground between running and swimming. It's kind of like treading water but using the running motion to keep yourself afloat. Aqua Jogging is a personal favorite of mine in the summer months. It's a nice way to put some work in while also enjoying the family pool or neighbor's in my case. Three simple pieces of advice for aqua jogging...
Use a flotation belt if you need one. If you are unable to keep yourself afloat it's important to put on a flotation belt or else you won't get a proper workout.
Make sure you are working hard and using a running motion. Treading water for 5-minute intervals can be easy aqua-jogging shouldn't be
Have fun! Anytime you are in a pool it should be at least a little bit fun.
Types of workouts
10 min warm-up 6 x 5 min moderate, 1 min easy Finish with 2 sets of 5 x 45 sec hard, 15 sec easy 10 min cool-down
10 min warm-up 16 – 20 x one hard pool length (take 30 sec rest after each length) 10 min cool-down