To see more results, try to add some cross-training to workouts circa Dec. 6-12, 2012; Seminole Chronicle
I was on a cruise ship for Thanksgiving. At times, I found myself impatient waiting for the elevator, so I opted for the stairs - especially if I needed to go up. I thought an added glute workout would do me some good. However, the more I climbed, the more I struggled with my breathing, and my legs felt like they were on fire.
As a runner, I didn't expect to be gasping for breath after a few flights of stairs. This experience highlighted for me the importance of cross-training even for competitive runners.
I weight and cardio train all the time. However, I'll admit it: I've become a creature of habit, especially when it comes to cardio. I can't help it; I love how great I feel after my interval treadmill workout, which includes, power walking, climbing and all out sprints. Not only do I feel great after this type of workout, it helped me beat my personal best and place first in my age group for the Wounded Warriors 5K race at the University of Central Florida this past May.
I crossed that finish line like a bullet, as my youth client does when he sprints during his cardio training. Trust me that never happened before. My husband used to stand at the finish line yelling, "Sprint, sprint!" I use to yell back, "I am!" Now I know I really wasn't. This race, I was sprinting all out. I noticed the speed and so did the crowd. I heard them say, "Wow" as I sprinted past.
If I want to improve my overall fitness I need to cross-train. What is cross-training? Cross-training is incorporating other activities into your exercise program. Sure, I consider myself in shape, but am I fit overall? Cross-training will target the conditioning of different muscle groups, improve my cardiovascular system, decrease stress on specific muscles and prevent injury and boredom.
If I were to cycle on my non running day, I would need to maintain that same level of intensity cycling as I do running. Cycling is aerobic, improves muscular endurance for your legs and has less impact.
Weight training increases muscle strength, bone density and creates sturdy tendons and ligaments. Strong muscles help with the impact of running. Performing lighter weights at higher reps will improve fatigue resistance. When training for a race, I'm not weight training for size. Exercises I perform when training for a 5K race are: lunges, squats, calf raises and leg extensions. I train upper body, including abdominal exercise for a strong core.
By incorporating cycling, stair climbing, the elliptical trainer, yoga, swimming, weight training, sports or boot camp classes into your running program the right way, these additional activities will help enhance your running performance.
Not training for a 5K or marathon, but want to work on overall fitness? Try this boredom-free 30-minute workout by performing 10 minutes each: cycling, elliptical trainer and walking on the treadmill. Be sure to perform proper warm-up beforehand.