Thursday, February 9, 2017

Cross-Training...what's not to LOVE?


Do you cross-train? (I hope so!)

There was a time, way back in my early days of lacing up, when running was my only sport (other than occasional walking). I was so excited to have finally found a niche for me in the fitness world, that I devoted all of my "sweat time" to running and running only.

Of course, back then (almost 12 years ago), I wasn't much into endurance running. I would run 2-3 miles a few times a week and call it good. There may have been a 5K race sprinkled in now and then, but I never ran any farther than those 3.1 miles and I never did anything else fitness-wise. Ever.

Fast forward to the present day, and I wish I could go back in time and tell that gal to do a few more things. I would persuade her to do a little strength-training, or ride her bike once in awhile. She would not be any less of a runner; actually, cross-training would (probably) have made her a better runner.

Why cross-train? Bottom line, your body needs it (and I would bet your mind could benefit from it as well).

Need some convincing? Here's my top five reasons that I love cross-training:

1. My body and mind need variety, and I would guess yours does too. Ever heard of over-training? It happens when muscles are over-used and not given proper recovery time. Cross-training gives the "running" muscles a chance for some downtime while other forms of exercise are utilized.

Yoga is one of my cross-training options
  
 2. I now have more muscles to "share the load."A lot of runners fear cross-training, specifically strength-training. Granted, having more muscles will add a few extra pounds to your weight, but you'll also have an increased metabolism and (probably) a smaller waistline. All of those muscles not only look good, they will give you some extra power as you run your miles because your legs will not have to do all of the work on their own.


I'm no longer afraid of muscles
3.Cross-training may expand your circle of friends. I have a lot of friends who run, but I also have friends who bike, lift, and practice yoga. It's been fun branching out and doing different things with people who have different interests.

Cycling is fun with friends!
With Paula, who convinced me to do a duathlon (August 2015)
With some of the Team 27 members at the Fight for Air Climb
4. Over all, I have had fewer injuries. This is a two-fold consequence of cross-training...I'm not using the same muscles ALL the time (by NOT running all the time), and my entire body is much stronger than before (so it can withstand the stress of high mileage when I do run). That's a win-win!


5. It gave me a shift in priorities. Running will always be my sport of choice, no argument there. But seriously, I am not an Olympian. I will never win Boston (heck, I may never even run it). And I probably will never even win a small, local race either. I'm still gonna train for races, but I'm not gonna let running be my "one and only." In my opinion, life is too short to limit oneself solely to one "thing." I love running too much to allow it to dominate and/or dictate my life.

Planking has become a favorite daily ritual as I work on strengthening my core
So, talk to me! Are you a cross-trainer? What are your favorite non-running activities?

I'm linking up with Meranda and Lacey and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0 link-up

And also with Nicole for the Fit & Fashionable Friday link-up


34 comments:

  1. Running was not my original sport. I was actually into yoga first then strength training then added in distance running in my 30's so a big thumbs up for cross training from me!

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  2. I'm a lazy athlete and even though I know cross-training is good for me, it usually takes a swift kick up the backside OR an injury to get me to switch things up a bit. I've now started, once again, cross training - specifically for the muscles to help me run! Funny how we don't actually realise how much you need your bum and your hips to strengthen your KNEES but it's true! So me and my sore knees have been back at the gym, humbly cross-training once again!

    Totally agree with all your points!!

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    1. You're exactly right! I can always tell when I've been running "too much" and not doing other things because I will feel an injury lurking....

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  3. I love cross training and I know that it makes me a better runner. I really love fitness classes at my gym like boot camp, spinning and body works + abs.

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  4. Yes to cross training! It definitely expands your circle of friends and makes life more fun. Have a wonderful weekend

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  5. I go to the gym and use the machines there but at home I ride my bike. I try to fit in some stretch sessions but I will admit that doesn't happen often.

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    1. Stretching is one of those things that I neglect at times....it's the first thing that gets pushed aside when I'm in a hurry #mybad

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  6. Being well balanced does make a world of difference! Running is my true love too but I've also been into yoga lately.

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    1. I like yoga, but don't quite "love" it yet....I'm a work in progress LOL I do see the many benefits of it, though, so it's a discipline I'm gonna stick with

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  7. I definitely need cross training to keep me from getting too bored. And it's made me a much better runner!

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    1. YES to avoiding the boredom! I love running, but after awhile my body craves something else

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  8. I love marathons, but I really enjoy variety. Lately I've been doing lots of yoga and hiking. It's fun to mix it up and keeps you stronger!

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    1. I enjoy hiking, too, but I just don't make much of an effort to do it....

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  9. Yes! I lift 2 days a week. It has really helped my running and of course my overall strength.

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    1. Having increased overall strength is SO beneficial ;-)

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  10. Skinny arms so yesterday - yes! I like strength training, but biking is especially fun because of the scenery.

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    1. I'm a biking wannabe LOL I have not done much of it, but it's a great non-impact exercise.

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  11. I love to cross-train. Yoga is probably my favorite, and I am trying to love cycling more. There are benefits to all these things, and they are very helpful as a complement to running.

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    1. I agree. I think good runners run, but great runners do other things as well ;-)

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  12. Yes to all of this! Once I made a real commitment to strength training I've come to love my time in the gym. I also enjoy pilates and yoga though I haven't been in a studio in a while - time to fix that!

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    1. I have never tried pilates...I have got to find a class! Thanks for the reminder ;-)

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  13. You know I love my cross training! First yoga, then strength, then cycling, then....

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    1. Yes, Wendy...I think you're the poster child for cross-training! ;-)

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  14. Cross training is so important! Im really happy to have other ways to exercises other than just running.

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  15. I like cross training when I actually do it. I've been on a fairly rigid schedule this training cycle, though, and I think it's helping.

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    1. Glad to hear it! BTW, I never heard if the Grandma's registration is a done deal (?) (say YES!)

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    2. It's not yet. Still trying to figure out logistics!

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  16. I love the variety! Right now it is yoga and golf! Can't get enough of yoga :)

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  17. Cross training is a necessity. I have had so many injuries lately and I blame many of them on my lack of cross training. Now that I am I hope to see improvement in that area, plus I do love that my arms look good!

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  18. I mixed it up with biking in my early running years but I wish I would have started yoga back then! Now yoga and planks are my two cross training favorites and I'm injury-free (as of this second anyways)!

    I hope to bike more when my kids get older - then we can bike together!

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