I hear it all the time…some people mentally just can’t commit themselves to the sport of running. I feel ya! It’s hard to get into. I’m not going to lie, the first few weeks of the beginning of ANY training for running is a b****. Whether you’re like me who has been doing it for 8 years now or if you’re a beginner…taking time off and starting fresh is HARD! The first few weeks are always a killer, getting back into the scheme of things, rebuilding your strength, endurance, lung capacity, and motivation. But once you get back into the swing of things, it becomes a breeze! Which brings me to my next point…when do you want to incorporate cross training? Which is better? Do I choose to hit of the gym or take advantage of the outdoors for a nice run?! So, I’ve provided a list of the benefits of running AND the benefits of cross-training! However, what I have concluded from this is that a mixture of BOTH is ultimately the best option!
Why do Both? The reasonings are all right there! A combination of both running and cross training can be just what you need to stay in the best shape AND avoid injuries! Throughout my running career i’ve tried to incorporate both, however often times I tend to run more than I cross train. However, starting now and following through with this plan after school, I’m making a goal to cross train at least 2-3 times a week and run on the other days. Again, during high school and college I’ve definitely had my injuries whether it was stress fracture, hip/quad pains, lower back/pinch nerves, never-ending shin splints, the list goes on! Especially now as we’re quickly approaching our championship meet, I plan to run on workout and meet days and then cross training on ‘easy’ or ‘down’ days.
So, what does my cross-train look like? Typically I’ll either do HALF run (20 mins), HALF elliptical (30 mins). But, I think for the rest of these two weeks in hopes of resting up my shins and quad, I will cross train on the elliptical for 40-50 mins. I usually do an incline of 5 or 6 (as anything higher irritates the joints in my hips and it doesn’t exactly mimic how one would normally run!) and then I’ll do a resistance of 8 for the first 20 mins and finish up the last part on 9-10 depending on how I’m feeling. Also, I tend to do a usually quick motion as to keep my heart rate up and to feel the burn! I don’t think I have ever sweat as much running as I do on the elliptical! Other great cross training options include biking or aqua jogging (pool running). If I am at the gym, I also like to finish my workout off with planks or some type of core if I’m not sore from lifting twice a week!
Hope this helps give you all an idea of how to approach your fitness goals! Best of luck!