Cross Training - partial transcript from Audio for Week of May 27/13
Nowadays we all know cross training refers to doing other activities other than running to either
- maintain our fitness while we are injured; or
- to enhance recovery from tightness and soreness; and
- to supplement training to make us stronger all ways
It also does the job of burning the calories in order to maintain our weight so we can continue to eat the way we are used to - just like Oprah – hey 19 years ago she ran 4:29:15 in the New York Marathon.
Apart from the physical benefits it can be really important for the sake of our heads - I mean one of the appeals of running is it offers many frequent weekly rewards. Each week you become accustomed to these run missions that you’ve planned and executed, and that just breeds a nice satisfactory feeling of accomplishment.
Admittedly when these fixes are taken away- withdrawal sets in and it can be quite depressing. So it's important to immediately create an alternative cross training program when we can’t run, and you can be cagey about working as many muscles as possible without aggravating those that are injured
Let me give you a few examples:
You can use pool running with your feet are not touching the bottom of the pool - a great skill to hone, and after a few sessions it’s easy to visualize and feel like you’re running on land.
Here’s a pool running workout I might prescribe:
5 min easy then
5 x 20 second hard + 40 second easy, then
2 min easy then
5 x 45 seconds hard + 90 seconds easy, then
3 min easy, then
5 x 90 second hard + 2:00 easy, then
5 min easy
You can also use a stationary bike
For someone with a calf issue, I will have them pedal a bike with just their heels – that’s important – just the heels on the pedals in order to divorce the foot flexor muscles altogether.
With weight training – I’ll often suggest making the last set very high reps….perhaps repeating the action for up to 60 seconds in order to address the endurance aspect of the muscle fitness.
BTW it’s amazing how little you need to do in order to maintain very closely your fitness - many de-training studies have shown this.
Perhaps one of the most publicized examples of the usefulness of cross training was the American marathoner Joan Benoit who had minor knee surgery 17 days before the 1984 Olympic trials - she used the pool to train and she won the trials and 3 months later was the gold medalist in the first ever Women’s Olympic marathon.
Oh. And another tip: if for some reason you can't run but can cross train you can roughly gauge your success at maintaining your aerobic fitness by monitoring your resting heart rate to see if it remains about the same while you are away from the running.
I did a blurb about the value of resting heart rate monitoring in my website’s Q&A section which you can check out HERE.
[Note - I have also dealt with this subject in the Q&A section - see HERE.]