With the Mystic, CT. Half Marathon coming up next week, I wanted to write a little about what else goes into training other then logging miles.
What do I really love to run? A good well planned, organized entertaining half marathon. 5ks are always over too soon and full marathons seem daunting (just having 1 in my race calendar this year has me excited but terrified). 10ks, 15ks, 10 milers, and such are fun too and usually come with a lovely course and fun bling (it’s all about the bling). Still, that 13.1mi is something special. You can cover a lot of ground in 13 miles and have a lot of time to think about, well whatever pops in your head.
But what about all the pre-race work you should put in to be ready for an enjoyable race day? What do I do? Aside from training runs of various distances and paces- A LOT of cross training. No no, not cross fit, I’d probably be dead… no, all various types of cross training- weight training, strength training, stretching, toning… you name it. My go to? Pilates classes. About 10 weeks out from the next planned half, I splurge on my physical health and wellbeing and purchase myself a 10-pack of Private Pilates Equipment Sessions. I schedule with my trainer for the next 2+ months and put it in my scheduler. I’m ready to go. I enjoy working with the same trainer because she knows my body, what I need, and where I’m weak (or injured). She can be another set of eyes assessing my physical progress and giving me tips along the way. What do I work on? Core strength is a BIG one, and my personal fav. Also a lot of inner and outer hip stability and strengthening, upper body (arms and back). Some days, especially if I”m going in after a long training run, we will do what I describe as “Therapeutic Pilates”…. stretching tight muscles and back articulation.
Is that all? Definitely not! I’ll get myself out from behind my desk and get into a good yoga class to keep my body flexible and my breath focused. Yoga can, and will, be it’s own many posts, but in general I like a level 1 class. I’m in no need of hot yoga, I sweat plenty on my runs. I’m in no need of a flowing cardio driven Vinyasa… again, get all that in my training already. What I do need is a class that opens my forward rolling shoulders and releases my hip flexors. A level 1 class can be as hard as any flow.
On my own time at home or in the park before/after a run I’ll several squat series and functional reaches. Working to strengthen and activate the muscles of my legs and hips help the running part of things drastically- when there muscles can function properly, extending and contracting to their fullest in proper form, I know my body can cover the distance… then it’s all mental!
I’ll save that for another post, but tell me: what do YOU do to cross train? It could be very different from my plan depending on what you want to accomplish.
On Wednesday (5/11/16) check out my Q&A interview with my friend Akeem (IG @akeem.lifts) to learn more about lifting, his goals, and his thoughts on cross training!