You can’t run every single day of the week without getting super bored or overtiring your muscles when training for a half or whole marathon. Somewhere in there you have to take rest days and cross-train days. I get antsy on rest days (unless they’re after a distance run, then I don’t even want to take the stairs in my own home). But on cross-training days, the sky is really the limit as to what you can do to increase your aerobic threshold or general fitness level without compromising the muscle groups used in running or adding more pounding motion to your joints.
Since running is mostly cardio, I try to add a strength aspect to my cross-training days. I never did strength before the past year and a half. I considered cardio my end all be all. But, I noticed significant changes in my body (i.e., muscle definition) when I added strength into my routine even one to two days a week.
Before our wedding, I really amped up the strength workouts (I wanted defined arms for my strapless gown, as well as to be in the best possible shape for our big day.. and bikini ready for Aruba). Since finding a website I love for fitness workouts at home during wedding prep, I have continued to utilize it to this day to help in my crosstraining efforts.
The website I use is called FitnessBlender.com. I have told a lot of my friends about it already, but it’s a really great site with tons of free videos and options for at-home work outs. My favorite video and my current once a week go to during training is their 45 minute HIIT Tabata routine. It works different muscle groups than running with pushups, burpees, and sit ups as well as squats, lunges and planks. Everything is done at 20 seconds on, 10 seconds at 8 times through, and a warm up and cool down are included. This workout will seriously work your body from head to toe. It helps me to keep working on strength while focusing on running for the next several months. I encourage you to try it and see how you feel the next day (sore much?!). It’s still challenging for me after several months since I am able to increase the weight I use during kettle ball swings, squats, etc., as well as get more of each exercise into the 20 second reps. I promise you you can do this work out at home. All you need is an optional pair of dumbbells or kettleball and a mat or towel for sit-ups. This workout has also been tiny hotel room approved by myself and others. No excuses, play like a champion.
What do you do for cross-training? I’d love to hear you ideas and exercises! Happy Hump Day!