cross-training – necessary or just popular?

Here is another post for Running and Reading Long.  This week we focused on some of the mechanics of running not simply aspects of our reading.  While I am excited about this different aspect of the program, I am REALLY excited to talk about our next book, haha.  I’ll stick with the schedule but my enthusiasm is building!

I decided to do a bit of research on cross-training.  I’ve often wondered if cross-training was really worth all of the hype or if running was enough.  I like running and running likes me.  And sometimes, I am feeling lazy and don’t want to get all geared up to go to a gym, do a class or go for a swim.  Truth is, I’m not a fanatical fitness chick.  Trust me, I love what it does for my mind and body but I don’t wake up in the morning doing cheers because I get to work out.


this is much more what I typically look like…

I have fooled myself for quite a while that cross-training is one of those aspects of running that while talked about a lot may not be as important as people say.  The key word in this sentence is “fooled”.  I googled it and a number of articles came up and many said the same thing – cross-training does the following:

1.  Injury prevention

2.  Increases overall fitness

3.  Helps to balance muscles – picture a T-Rex for a great example of UNbalanced muscles!

4.  Helps with motivation to keep running and avoid burnout

5.  If you are injured from running, cross training allows you to keep working out and staying fit.

*Information gathered from Runner’s World August 2004 Edition, “Eight Benefits of Cross-Training” by Matt Fitzgerald and, May 2011 “Cross-Training for Running” by Christine Luff.

Hmmm… looks like cross-training does a lot…

nooooo!!! I was totally and utterly WRONG!

All is not lost… I have been walking lately – ever since my 25k actually, on days when I am not running.  Other forms of cross-training that are highly talked about are swimming, pool running, classes, spinning, yoga, and strength-training.  At this point, the only one on this list I do is the walking.  Perhaps it’s time I step it up a bit?!


I do want to keep up some of the walking but I also want to start swimming.  I was on the swim team in high school and know what a major calorie torcher it is in addition to building my fitness (definitely needed right now).  The goal is to swim 2 times per week.  My other goal is to do some ab and arm work 3 times per week.  Awww… aren’t goals nice?

Training this week hasn’t been too shabby.  I started the streak on Monday and even went for a mile run last night even though I felt like hell and was all vicodin-y.  I was a bit proud of myself.  Today has essentially looked like this all day

why yes, it was/is indeed, raining cats and dogs

In addition to the weather, I have felt like hell all day (mouth—> headache—> stomach ache).  My solution?  I decided to run around inside my building until I reached a mile.  Yep, it was kind of annoying but I got my mile in, didn’t have to run in the rain and felt good about not shirking the streak in the first week.  Nutrition-wise, I could have done better this past weekend and I feel my body is still bouncing back from some of my unwise albeit tasty choices!  I have enjoyed running everyday though, which I am surprised by.  In Kara Goucher’s book she said that consistency with running is incredibly important and I know this is true for me.  So, while on paper my training might not look like “the best week ever” (remember this show?!  In the beginning it is was HYSTERICAL!) mentally and emotionally it was a decent week!

*click on the Running and Reading Long link above or on the side and you can check out what other participants are saying!

7 thoughts on “cross-training – necessary or just popular?

  1. I’m not a gym person at all but I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my running when I do something other than just running. It works for me…not that it makes it any easier to commit to it!

  2. Soooooo proud of you for getting that run in indoors…I’m impressed!! =) you go girl, keep it up, cause I know you can do this!!!

  3. Find classes you love – and you will get the same high from running. I tried so many before I found instructors I liked and classes I really enjoyed. My favorites are spinning and cardio kickboxing. Yoga I have to have the right instructor or I will feel like I wasted time getting to the gym!

  4. I’m not a fanatical fitness chick either and running is easier than cross training. However, I’ve been reading a lot this week about the benefits of cross training. I guess I need to give it a go…grrr.

  5. I hear you. I love the photos you posted. I feel like that ALL the time. I think swimming is an excellent choice! In fact, it has me thinking that maybe I will make a goal to swim during the week too. Thanks for all your great info on cross-training!

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