Tag Archives: training

Maybe I should practice what I preach about cross-training

I haven’t been to the Y in over a month because I do most of my workouts at home.  But, I need more intense weight training for Tough Mudder than my 20-30 minute home circuit so I decided to start going to BODYPUMP weekly.  I checked the Y schedule that I hung up in my office at work (two months ago, as a way to motivate myself to take the classes), blocked off my calendar so I could get out of work by 4:30, and made it to my 6:00 BODYPUMP class.  This is what I found:

Yep, I was 30 minutes late because I had an old schedule.  Oops.  (also, to be completely honest, I found this picture online – but it happens to be the move they were doing when I peeked into the gym!).  I guess I should have checked to make sure my motivation schedule was accurate.

I took it as a perfect opportunity to cross-train, which is something I always say is important but never actually do.  I started running four years ago and my use of other cardio has been rare.  Last night, I started my cross-training session with rowing 2200m.  Yes, I was secretly racing the lady next to me and she kicked. my. butt.

Next, I moved on to the elliptical.  I haven’t been on an elliptical machine for three years.  I am the first to admit that I am a treadmill snob.  I used the elliptical exclusively unit I got into running.  Then, Treadmill Anna felt bad for Elliptical Anna for wasting all those years on a sub-par cardio machine.  Aww, poor Elliptical Anna for thinking she was actually working out.  :(

The Africa course on the Life Fitness elliptical proved Treadmill Anna wrong yesterday (and I’m going to stop talking in third person now because it is borderline creepy).  It was like I was running hills for 20 straight minutes and, at the end, my  legs were a little wobbly.  I had an epiphany – maybe I didn’t get a good workout on the elliptical because I never pushed myself!  I’m so smart to discover that about 10 years into my exercise journey.

Next, I moved onto the stair master.  Not the kind where you walk on pretend stairs that are about 3 inches tall:

The scary kind that look like real stairs:

After 8 minutes on the Stairmaster, I was sweating like I had just run 5 miles.  I am a sweaty person, so that it A LOT.  Today, I swear my legs are smaller from cross-training.  I guess, rather than talk about the importance of cross-training, I should actually practice it more often :)

Today, we are going to look at a few more wedding venues and then heading out of town so I took the day off to get some stuff done.  That will include my first Tough Mudder workout.  I do these workouts for one minute each, with 15 seconds of rest between each (full descriptions can be found here):

  • Tough Mudder push-up… related obstacle: Boa Constrictor
  • The Fist and the Fury… related obstacle: Berlin Walls
  • Scissor Kick… related obstacle: Fire Walker
  • Bent Rows… related obstacle: Hold Your Wood
  • Dumbbell Side Lunge… related obstacle: Swamp Stomp
  • Push-Up + Row… related obstacle: Devil’s Beard
  • Lunge & Twist… related obstacle: Sweati Yeti
  • Shoulder Press… related obstacle: Cliffhanger
  • Decline Push-Up… related obstacle: Kiss of Mud
  • Quick Feet… related obstacle: The Bastard
  • Tough Chin-Up (I will have to skip these since we haven’t figured out where to put the pull-up bar since we painted)
  • Superman Plank… related obstacle: Greased Lightning
  • Drunk Superman Side Plank… related obstacle: Walk the Plank
  • Angelina Jolie… related obstacle: Ball Shrinker
  • The Tough Squat… related obstacle: Death March
Are you currently training for a race or other event?  What are your big plans for the weekend?

What I’ve learned about training

We finally got snow in Minne-snow-ta.

(this would actually be a laughable amount any other year)

So, what do I do?  I decide that today is the day to break out these bad boys:

My coworker was so nervous I was going to fall on the sidewalk that he offered to walk next to me so I would fall on him and not the ground.  What a nice guy.  But, walking in high heels is actually one of my many talents (except that one time I completely “biffed it” at work… but, hey, nobody is perfect).

I actually wore these because I have a two-day meeting for work and was presenting today.  My practical footwear just wouldn’t do for such an occasion.  Maybe tall heels make me look smarter?  I don’t know, but it is worth a try.

Anyway, I like to doodle when I have a lot on my mind.  While I was mulling over my presentation, I doodled this:

It is a rough draft of our Tough Mudder/sprint triathlon training schedule!  (that big scribble is our trip to Cancun for our friend’s wedding).  I was a little impressed with myself that I could put together a rough outline for our upcoming events :)

It got me thinking about my very first half marathon training experience in 2008.  My coworker sent me a link to an online training schedule and helped me modify it to fit my schedule since I was working full-time and going to school part-time.  I was so nervous and diligent about following that schedule that I gave myself bronchitis two weeks before the race.  Fun times.

It was the worst race ever (but still completely awesome because it was my first race ever).  My knees killed, my hips hurt and I missed a lot of my last two weeks of training.  I figured I wasn’t meant for running, but I really just didn’t know how to train well.

After six half marathons, two 10 miles, two 20 miles and a marathon, my approach to training is much more laid back (which also makes the process a lot more fun!).  These are some of the most important things I’ve learned through experience, talking to my doctor, running stores, or my running books and magazines:

  • Start small.  I know the idea of starting at only one mile isn’t very sexy, but sitting out because of knee pain isn’t sexy either.
  • Build supporting muscles.  Most likely, your knees hurt because you don’t have good supporting muscles, not because you are predisposed to have bad knees (but please see your doctor to verify).  My knees hyper-extend when I run and I wore a really cool knee brace when I played soccer in middle school, but I’ve gotten knee pain under control by doing squats, lunges and biking.  Colleen and Matt both got their knee pain under control with a runner’s knee strap.  Click here for good information about runner’s knee and how to prevent injury.
  • Put your training plan somewhere you will regularly see it.  It will be easier to stick with.
  • Rest if you need it.  If I would have rested for a few days, my cold probably wouldn’t have led to bronchitis and I would have enjoyed my first race much more.  A good rule of thumb is you can run if the sickness is neck up, but you should rest if you have body aches.
  • Get fitted for good running shoes.  I know most of the cool-looking shoes aren’t bulky, but if you have frequent knee or hip pain you probably aren’t wearing the right shoes.  Go to a running store and have them fit you by watching you walk.  I was over-pronating, which was contributing to my knee and hip pain.
  • Vary the speeds of your runs throughout the week.  Each run serves a purpose.  Enjoy the recovery run and push yourself during the interval runs to build up speed.

Ok, I guess that was more than “some” tips.  There are a lot of good resources available about how to prevent injury and put together a good training plan.  Whenever I have a quick question, I check out the injury prevention section of Runner’s World online.

Here are a few links to training plans online:

Do you also like to run races?  What are important tips you’ve learned about training and injury prevention?