Sunday, October 24, 2010

WDW Half Marathon Training: Week Three - Cross Training

This week the training plan was a little different - here is what it looked like:
Monday: 40 mins r3/w2
Tuesday: 30 mins cross train
Wednesday: REST
Thursday: 40 mins r3/w2
Friday: 30 mins cross train
Saturday: 4 miles r3/w2
Sunday: REST

I didn't realize that my two runs in the week were increased by five minutes until I looked at my plan Monday before heading out to the gym.  It really wasn't a big deal - the extra five minutes was good!  

Marathoning for Mortals (the book I got my training plan from) emphasizes the importance of cross-training when training.  It allows you to get stronger and fitter because you get to build the muscles that running doesn't.  Plus you can discover new activities that you might enjoy.  These are the top five reasons to cross-train that are mentioned in the book.  
  • Improves running/walking performance. 
  • Improves recovery.
  • Increases overall fitness.
  • Reduces risk of injury.
  • Makes you happy.

Tuesday for cross training I tried something new.  I was checking out one of my favorite blogs, Your Nutritionista, and noticed her recent post about a How I Met Your Mother Workout.  I am a big HIMYM fan and had to read about the workout.  The gist is that you do a short, intense workout for about 20 minutes.  You do one exercise for one minute and then switch to another and another for every minute after.  It sounded like a really good strength workout, which I have been looking for, and since I didn't really feel like going for a bike ride to cross train, I made up my own little version of the workout.  Since I am supposed to cross train for 3o minutes I wrote down 15 different exercises to do and just did them twice.  I had just watched HIMYM the night before so I decided to watch another show I had DVR'd.  It was a fabulous workout!  I loved it!  It was an intense, circuit workout and I got to watch some TV while doing it.  I am going to add it to my routine and probably make it my Tuesday cross training workout.  
These are the 15 moves I did, but you can always use your own.  I also had a quick 5 minute warm-up and cool down. (Sorry if I don't have the technical names for these moves right, I am not a certified trainer or anything, these are just moves I have done in group fitness classes and on exercise DVDs.)
  1. alternating lunges with hand weights
  2. bicep curls
  3. high knees
  4. front and lateral raises
  5. squats with hand weights
  6. skaters
  7. push-ups
  8. weights on ground @ feet, squat to pick up with opposite hand and raise above head
  9. plank
  10. squat and box
  11. tricep extension
  12. dumbbell flys
  13. butt kicks
  14. camel stretch
  15. crunches
  16. Repeat 
Wednesday's rest day was much appreciated by my body.  I was quite sore, but in a good way, from the circuit workout the day before.  Thursday's run was good as well,  My muscles were still a bit sore, but not too bad that I couldn't run.  
Friday I switched it up again for the cross training.  I decided not to do the circuit again before my long run, so I just did 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer.  I am not a huge elliptical fan, but we happen to have one in the house so I stayed in and caught up on some Oprah.  I was surprised at how sweaty I got, but it was a good workout.

The long run Saturday felt really good; I kept a steady pace throughout.  I got up early, ate a blueberry crisp Clif bar, and headed out for my run with a bottle of G2 Gatorade and water.  I had to run four miles again, but I decided to map a different route and I have to say I liked this one much better.  It was not too hot and part of my path was shaded which was nice.   I think the Clif bar was a good pre-run snack; it didn't mess up my stomach and gave me a good boost of energy for the run.  After last week and not having enough to drink throughout the run I decided to carry a water bottle.  This was a bit of pain.  I also put too much G2 in the bottle - it was a bit sweet and needed more water to dilute it.  I finished the run two minutes earlier than last week too!  
I have 5 miles next week, wish me luck!

What are your favorite cross-training activites?