Cross-Training

QUESTION: “Are we supposed to be Cross-Training?”
This is such a great question and I’ll try and be brief.   The bottom line is to avoid injury, and the best way to do that is by erring on the side of caution, taking it slow, starting below your comfort-curve and incrementally building up your workouts to your own comfort-level before going beyond what you already know you can do.   There are a few factors to consider when you are trying to decide whether you want to do cross-fit and what kind of cross-fit you should be doing:
1. You need to know where you are at, currently, in your fitness.   We sometimes get caught up in where we WANT to be instead of taking inventory of where we actually ARE – try and know the difference, think about it constantly, and adjust your cross-training goals accordingly.
2. You need to align your training and fitness with your specific goals.
a: If you are just working toward crossing the finish line, you might not want or need to do much cross-training, although it would certainly be helpful if you could add in a little bit.
b: When you have a specific time goal or even a general time goal, you might need to bring varying forms of strength and flexibility training into your routine – very important to have both strength and flexibility when you tackle speed workouts since muscle strain and ligament/tendon stress is at its highest when we exert ourselves in these intense bursts.   Building these tissues up slowly and consistently can at least get you to the starting line, injury free!
c: If your goal includes weight loss, cross-training could be very effective in giving you alternative workouts that are better geared at fat-burning and toning.   I would also highly recommend your team-mate Nicki Mazzioti for nutritional coaching: https://www.risen-nutrition.com/
 
QUESTION: “What kinds of Cross-training should I be doing?”
To answer this question, ask yourself the following:
1. “What do I enjoy or would I enjoy?”   Just because someone else really loves Yoga doesn’t mean that you will love it too – by all means, give it a go if you’ve never tried it, but maybe you would prefer a nice bike ride instead.  (Swimming, Walking, Hiking, Dance, Zumba, Weight-Lifting, Boxing, etc.)
2. “What weaknesses or challenges do I face and what can cross-training do to help me address those weaknesses?”   I’ve already said that my core is really weak; my abdomen, my hips, my lower back (Core workouts 1-2 times a week).   I would also like to do things that help me maintain or maybe even lose about ten pounds (Full-Body strength training to add more muscle.  More muscle equals more muscle to feed and that equals higher metabolism, followed by weight loss), and I need tons more flexiblity in my calves, my hamstrings, my hips and my lower back (Yoga everyday!).
3. “What if I’m injured?”    Tread lightly here.   I’ve dislocated both of my shoulders (a long time ago) and I continue to have left-chain leg issues (calf, knee, hammies, hips and glutes).   Whether it’s my regular workouts or cross-training, I’m very careful and aware of these areas in my body and I approach them with respect and caution – I urge you to do the same.  It just isn’t worth it to drive yourself hard through injuries.   For me, I avoid swimming not just because I’m no good at it, but something about the motion of the arms causes my already weak shoulder sockets to pop out – my goal then is to do upper-body and specifically shoulder workouts (and surrounding areas) to strengthen that part of my body and rehabilitate those joints.   Someday, I hope to get in a pool and get proper coaching to improve my efficiency and form – just as soon as my shoulders can handle it.  Cross-training allows me to approach these injuries in new ways and target the areas that have had problems in the past – bringing me to a more well-rounded full-body fitness someday.
I would add that foam-rolling, deep sports massage, and targetted stretching are part of my cross-training routine specifically in response to my left-chain issues.
Bottom line: Be Careful and always consult a professional for any medical issues or question you may have.
I would love to hear from you!
Q: What forms of cross-training do you love?
Q: What did I miss in this article or what did I get wrong/did you disagree with?
Q: What did you like about this article?
Thanks so much – may you remain injury-free and happy running 🙂
This blog was inspired by the Destination U “DU-OV HalfM – Fall 17” group – training for the Tucson Half Marathon and the Veterans Day Half Marathon.  Thank you “Team Tomato” for your dedication, consistency, and can-do attitude.  You rock!
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