Training Tip Tuesday – Crosstraining

It seems I created quite a stir over at the WRC on Facebook. By the way, it is a closed running group, but if you ask to join real politely and tell them that I sent you, I think you can be granted access! Anyway, I mentioned my recent 5K time and there were quite a few questions as to how I did that. What were my secrets? How did I train? Do I do speed work?

How did you get that fast?

Now, I’m not an expert. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a coach. I’m not a trainer. I’m just a runner who somehow figured out what works for me. And no, my training is far from being “by the book” and more like being “let’s wing it”. But I thought that since I spurred such interest, I’d share something with you every Tuesday that I have found useful in my own personal journey to achieving a faster pace and becoming a more efficient runner.

Weight Lifting Hamster

Weight Lifting Hamster

Crosstraining

Oh, dear God. Did she say *gulp* crosstraining?

Why, yes she did. Let me tell you why.

When I started my fitness journey back in 2009, I had been steadily gaining a few pounds a year after miraculously shedding all of my post-pregnancy baby weight 9 months after giving birth. I got slim quick, but it didn’t last. 8 years later I was 20 pounds heavier and not at all happy about it. I decided to take some action and on the advice of a friend, I tried ChaLEAN Extreme. It is a Beachbody workout that incorporates strength training and alternates with days of high intensity interval training. I was not running at the time. In fact, I despised running. I’m not sure why because I hadn’t actually done any running since my college days…when I ran like a fool. But despite that, I was finding great results with ChaLEAN.

After 6 months, I decided to move on and try P90X. I felt like I was ready for the challenge. I was down 10 pounds and showing great muscle gain. I can only tell you that I fell in love with the workouts. In fact, I still do them…4 years later. It is the easiest, fastest, most efficient way to gain muscle, lose weight, and look fantastic in a bathing suit. I stand by that.

“But I’ll look like the Incredible Hulk!”

No, you won’t. You can’t…unless you lift super heavy weights for literally hours a day. Trust me. I’ve been doing P90X for four freakin’ years. I do not resemble the Hulk. I’m not even green!

Now, fast forward to May of 2010. My new found girlfriend just started running herself and suggested I register to run in a local 4-mile race with her. Me? Run? Right…but, hold on. If she can run, surely, I can muster some kind of jog or shuffling of the feet. I’m in shape, right? I could at least try. Maybe I could do this.

So off we went. I tried a 5K route around a lake at a nearby park with her. She kept telling me, “Let me know if we are going to fast…how do you feel? Are you out of breath?” But I was never out of breath. In fact, I was amazed at how easy running was. Now, remember, P90X includes a cardio day and a plyometric day. Therefore, I had some pretty good HIIT workouts in my recent past. Running was just an extension of this crosstraining I was already doing.

That first 4-miler I completed in just under 36 minutes. That is a 9-minute mile. I was 44 years old at the time. And I was super proud. From there, I never looked back.

I started incorporating runs into my crosstraining, instead of the other way around. I had to rearrange the classic P90X 90 day schedule to fit the running in, but in the end, I am almost certain that if I weren’t such a good crosstrainer, I wouldn’t be this good of a runner this late in life.

Now, P90X isn’t for everyone. Especially if you have never resistance trained before. My suggestion to you would be to start with ChaLEAN Extreme or a Les Mills Pump kind of workout. Learn it well, and follow it for a few months verbatim. Then start incorporating your running. I’m certain you will see a big difference in your speed and endurance.

By the way, I’m a Beachbody coach and I can help you with any of the workouts I mentioned. Just contact me for more information or go to my Beachbody Coach site to learn more.

Next week I’ll have another training tip for you so stay tuned!

Do you crosstrain? What workouts do you do besides running?

Disclaimer: These training tips are based on my opinion and what has worked for me. I am not a doctor, or a trainer, or a professional athlete. This blog purely represents observations I have made in my 4 years as a runner. Always consult a medical professional before beginning a running or workout program. I am not liable, either expressly or in an implied manner, nor claim any responsibility for any emotional or physical problems that may occur directly or indirectly from reading this blog.

6 Responses to Training Tip Tuesday – Crosstraining

  1. wornoutsoles says:

    Great tip, thanks for sharing! I am terrible about incorporating strength into my training during the season. Thank god that the season is ending soon so I can get back to incorporating strength.

  2. Angela says:

    I definitely do lots of strength work, but it doesn’t make me any faster (as opposed to using that time to add miles, which does make me faster). What it *does* do is keep me from getting injured!

  3. Shaun says:

    For me, cross training is difficult to do because I love running so much. I just want to be out there with my legs churning. With that said, I agree that cross training is important, and even essential to success. Saying that and doing that are two different things though.

    • I know…that is why I said it with the satirical tone. I don’t think any runner likes to crosstrain. It’s not easy to do, nor to find the time, time which could be spent running, by gosh! LOL!

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