Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tales of a Runner: Cross Training

I've have a run coming up in about 10 days and I've been a little neglectful in my runs over the past two weeks.  I'll blame it a bit on work travel the end of March and beginning of April as well as Easter.  Nevertheless, next weekend's run is looming before me and I need to make sure I'm warmed up and ready.  So that said, about 4 runs between now and then should be good since I'm not out of shape but going a while sans much means muscles aren't as strong as they need to be.

Besides runs, I do a lot of cross training.  I did not do this years ago when I trained for my half marathon and it was a big mistake.  Cross training is especially helpful in summer months, if you, like me, cannot run in temps above 70.  Seriously, I get a heat stroke if the sun is beating down on me and it's like, 74 degrees out.  So I've found that spinning, power yoga and some DVDs make ALL the difference - they work other muscle groups, mix up the workouts so I'm not bored, provide strength training and cardio training, keep me warm in between runs, and often mean a better run on race day.  AND, they keep me active in the summer.

A few of my favs:

Spinning -- I take classes at my local gym, ABSolute Fitness in Broomall, PA.  The spinning classes are great and often incorporate bands for some upper body work.

Jillian Michaels -- what can I say?  I love the woman.  She kicks my butt and makes me laugh as I sweat.  Her no BS style is right up my alley.  I have a collection of her DVDs but my favs are No More Trouble Zones, Shred it with Weights (she uses kettlebells), and her new one, KickBox Fast Fix.  Seriously, I'm always like, meh, how's she gonna challenge me THIS time?! (all snide and proud of myself) and it never fails to completely leave me sore and popping a few Advil the next morning.

Power Yoga -- I've been a devotee to power vinyasa since 2004.  I love this form because as you can see, I need intense, kick your butt workouts.  Vinyasa power yoga is a series of poses done sequentially in a faster paced flow usually in a heated room.  It delivers.  But more than that, power yoga is strength training, stretching and building flexibility (awesome for runners), toxin eliminating, and practicing thoughtfulness. It does quiet my mind because I'm very focused - on the pose, on letting go, on going a bit further or deeper in the pose.  I try to go once a week and right before a run - it's my internal and external cleansing of sorts. 

Yeah, I wish I could do this flying pigeon pose but not yet.  Bad ass, right?

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