Ok, so you have made the commitment to train for a marathon. Your fund raising letters have been sent, you are getting positive support from all your friends and family. Your body has said “YES! We can do this! NO PROBLEM!” Have you gotten discouraged at this point? A little bored with your training? Are you developing some nagging little injuries that just won’t seem to go away? There is a solution….Cross Training.
Cross training is an easy way to mix up your exercise program while keeping the intensity high, and keep you on course for your goal of completing the marathon. With cross training you will be able to vary the aerobic routine and incorporate the necessary strengthening and flexibility training.
Some of the benefits of cross training are:
• Injury prevention - The risk of injury is lessened because you are not using the muscles, joints and bones the same way day after day. The stresses to the body change. If you do sustain a minor injury cross training becomes your rehab.
• Variety - How many times have you gotten up to do your work out and have lain in bed whining “I don’t want to do this today!” The more interesting and varied your workouts are, the more likely you will be to do them.
• Rest – Your body was not designed to do the same workout day after day at the same intensity. Participating in a different sport allows your body to rest and recover from the pounding it gets when running while maintain your endurance.
So now you’re psyched. The next question is “How can I implement this wonderful concept of cross training?” It’s simple; just vary the activity you are doing. Walk one day, swim one day, bike another day. You can also alternate these activities within one workout. There’s no rule that says you have to spend 30 minutes walking. Why not try 10 minutes biking, move on to 10 minutes running, back to 10 minutes on the bike. You can also vary the intensity of the workout by adding intervals. If you are on a bike, mix 30 seconds of high intensity with 30 seconds of moderate activity. Repeat the intervals for 10 minutes. Play with the numbers, but gradually increase the time spent in the more intense interval.
Best of luck and, KEEP MOVING!