Half Marathon Training (Part 3) Cross Training

I have always been afraid of cross training.

This was due to my ignorance on weight and strength training.  I’m sure one of my track coaches along the way stressed the importance and I’m equally sure I just wasn’t paying attention.

For a while, I’d say about 4 years, before and a little after my first child was born, I was obsessed with running.  I was also convinced that if I did anything other than run, I would immediately gain weight.  ( Yes, I understand that equates to having some sort of disorder.)

My biggest issue was that I ate horribly.  I would run every day for at least an hour (6 miles) and go home and stuff my face with junk food.

If you are trying to lose weight by running, you can’t just stop there. You need to eat well.

Are most of you saying, “Duh…” to me in your heads? Probably, I’m saying it to myself.  I think when you become obsessed and so focused on something, your judgement is clouded a bit.

I  thought that if I ran like that every day (sometimes on the weekends I would run a longer distance), I could eat whatever I wanted.

Granted, I do genetically have a fast metabolism, but I was not in high school anymore.  A 20 something year old woman, is no longer able to eat McDonalds after a run and then go home and eat dinner, while maintaining a sculpted physique…and if there is such a phenome out there, then I am in awe of her.

After my 3rd child, I was running again like I do after all my children, but this time I was really bored. My weight was not coming off like it had in the past and my energy was low.

I tried an at home workout DVD that I got from a new friend and I really got my love of exercise back. No longer did I dread working out daily.  I was becoming stronger and my energy was better throughout the day. Physically, I was feeling good. I was drinking healthy shakes and watching not only how much I ate, but what I ate.

I love the workout program, but also missed running. I’ve been a runner since the 6th grade.  Its hard to give something like that up.

One day while online, I saw a post from a womans blog on how to cross train for a half marathon while using the workout dvds I was using. This was awesome! I missed running and there was a half marathon coming up in 3 months that I wanted to run. What a good way to experiment with myself and with my running.

So far, as I am starting on week number 5 of my training program,  I’m convinced that I was really missing out all those years.  I feel stronger and am running hills and outdoor mountain terrain with no issues at all.

So, what am I doing you ask?

Well, I am using the 21  day fix workouts from beachbody, but if you don’t have that program, don’t let it stop you. There are a number of workouts out there that you can use.

Here is basically what I do in a week:

Monday:

On Mondays I do plyometric.

I use to be scared of these. All I could think was that there is no way I can jump like that anymore. Truthfully, the first month I tried the workouts, I really had a hard time. But, I kept going and now I can jump like a champ (well, sort of).

Pylometrics are great for runners. According to Runnersworld.com, “Its all about exploiting the elastic properties of muscle and tendons and how they utilize elastic energy.”  In other words, “The better the muscles are at producing force against the ground quickly, the less time you spend on the ground (runnersworld.com).

Plyometric training is beneficial for long distance runners.  The less time spent on the ground means a faster time.

I still maintain that Plyometric days are my least favorite workout days.  But, I just remind myself that if I want a faster race time, they will be the annoying friend that gets me there.

Tuesday:

I run.

My husband leaves really early for work, so I rely on our treadmill. It’s fine, I’m able to to do some speed work and zone out wih Netflix shows on my kindle.

I know the treadmill isn’t ideal when you are training, but as a mom, you do what you’ve got to do.

My milage will get longer as the weeks go on, then taper off a few weeks before the race. Right now I’m on 4 miles for my Tuesday run.

You can binge on a lot of good Netflix shows on your kindle in that amount of time. Right now I’m getting ready for the Gilmore Girl reunion. Killing 2 birds with 1 stone.

Wednesday:

This is my leg day.

Apparently, strengthening your legs helps you run, who knew! 😉

Exercises like lunges, squats, leg presses and calf raises, all play a part in strengthening your legs, making you stronger.

I have issues with my hips, therefore, I like to concentrate on workouts that will strengthen them.  Lateral lunges and lateral leg lifts have really helped to decrease my hip soreness after long rungs.

Thursdays:

Another running day for me.

Again, due to my husbands schedule, I run indoors.

On these indoor days, if I have time and my kids are still asleep, I will throw in some arms and abs.

Nothing rigorous, just some pushups or resistant band training for arms and some quick core workouts.

I don’t get a lot of time to myself in the mornings and  I am a little lazy when I wake up, so I do what I can.

Fridays:

These are arm days for me. Fridays are my favorite days.

Many runners out there don’t feel the need to workout their arms. There is a myth that building muscles in your arms will slow you down. Our arms are what get us through our runs.  We not only use our legs, but by pumping our arms, we able to propel our bodies forward, faster.

I do not have a large body build and can’t lift very heavy weights. In fact, I was struggling the other day trying to get the soil from my car to the garden. So, any chance I get to try and build up my arm muscles is embraced by me.

Saturdays:

I use this day for my long outdoor run.

That is, if my husband is not out of town. So when I am able to, I take advantage of this time.

I live on a beautiful mountain.  The hills are a killer and I need to watch out for wildlife, but this is my time and I love it.

A few years ago, there was no way I would have been able to run the hills I am running today.  They are long and steep.  I obviously credit this new found strength to my cross training.

I was quite pleased with myself when my husband went for a run the other day and came back telling me that he cant believe I can run those hills.

I also haven’t had the nervousness that I use to when running outdoors.  I use to dread it knowing that it was going to be a challenge for me.  These days I get excited for it.

Sundays:

I use to take these days off. But found, that the days I sleep in and only get up once the kids have woken me up, start up very grumpy for me.

For some reason, I really need that hour to wake up and move my body before I am bombarded with children demanding breakfast and book reading from me.

On these days I have taken up Pilates with a resistant band, another one of my DVD workouts.

You should have seen me the first day I tried Pilates. I was a mess.  I was actually going to stay away from the workout after that first try, but decided to give it another go. I’m glad I did.  I really feel that Pilates has given me strength in places I otherwise would not have worked out.

I not only get a leg and arm workout from this, but it really targets my core.  When I do my core workouts, I know I am keeping my body strong and stable for those long runs.

So, I know this post has become quite wordy, but that is my training schedule for all those curious.

As the race gets closer and I get stronger, I am more and more excited to see what my results will be.

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