Cross training triad

by • August 19, 2013 • Running wildComments (0)247

Cycling, swimming and yoga can increase overall fitness

An old friend of mine used to say, “Pity the person who only wants to do one sport.”

Cyclists ride the Gird to Bird trail along Turnagain Arm. Michael DeYoung - Alaska Stock

Cyclists ride the Gird to Bird trail along Turnagain Arm. Michael DeYoung – Alaska Stock

It is good to be focused and committed to a goal, but even people with Olympic aspirations can benefit from an occasional change of pace. Cross training provides that opportunity, and is best exemplified with cycling and swimming. Both activities can challenge the cardiovascular system while minimizing stress to the skeletal system. In other words, biking and swimming are non-load bearing, effectively reducing impact forces on your joints.

Now that August has arrived, most runners have built a strong base, gradually increasing their mileage each week (no more than 10 percent in time or distance). They’ve also likely run hills for strength, or hit the local track or trails for speed work. It’s a classic recipe for success.

Adding a little variety while keeping your key running workouts consistent can lighten the psychological and physiological loads or stresses to the mind and body. Do not fret – you are still a runner, so keep doing the long run (conversation pace) at least every other weekend, and one or two tempo runs (current 10K pace, no conversation), plus speed session once a week. You will still be running three to four times a week.

 

A few cross-training options:

 Biking

First, ensure your bike fits properly. Most bike shops can do a fit test for you or go online www.caree.org/bike101bikefit.htm. A proper fit reduces the potential for knee and back pain. One of my favorite bike rides is along the Turnagain Arm Bird Creek to Girdwood trail. Stay alert, as bears are in this area. A few years ago I saw two brown bears in the tall grass just 100 meters off the trail. Talk about feeling vulnerable, my pace picked up smartly.

 Swimming

Hopefully, you know how to swim. This is another skill where taking a lesson can help improve performance. The correct stroke is performed over and over, so muscle memory of the proper skill increases efficiency and enjoyment. Swimming is a life skill we all should have, especially in Alaska. Beginning workouts mirror running formats: Steady pace over time/distance building to 30 to 45 minutes is a realistic goal. Or try speed sessions of various distances, just like your track sessions. Warm up with an easy swim of about 500 yards, and then try five repetitions of 100 yards with a 30-second recovery. Finish with a 500-yard cool down. Most communities also have swim clubs or masters swim teams that offer organized workouts and stroke critique. Try this website for basic tips: www.totalimmersion.net/.

Pilates

A super tool to strengthen your core, especially the abdomen and back. Studio One Pilates on Old Seward Highway in Anchorage is my top pick.

Orienteering

Power hiking, using a map and compass to reach designated checkpoints, can actually get your heart rate up. Analytical route-finding skills are honed and can be enjoyable when competing with a teammate.

Chores

Home activities such as yard work, splitting wood, vacuuming/cleaning can also qualify, plus spousal points are earned.

Yoga

Increases flexibility and breath control.

Volunteering

It’s good karma to give back to your sport and community. Every event exists thanks to the generous support of volunteers. All the events listed in the Alaska Runners Calendar need volunteers. One great event to volunteer at is the Big Wild Life Runs. Imagine getting a long-sleeve tech shirt and a free pasta dinner for your efforts. Strength training is offered for early birds who volunteer for set up. Cleanup and teardown crews always need help. Just go to www.bigwildliferuns.org/index.html.

 

Keep striding and smiling,

— Coach Mike

Cross training triad

Cycling, swimming and yoga can increase overall fitness 

By Mike Halko

A

n old friend of mine used to say, “Pity the person who only wants to do one sport.” 

It is good to be focused and committed to a goal, but even people with Olympic aspirations can benefit from an occasional change of pace. Cross training provides that opportunity, and is best exemplified with cycling and swimming. Both activities can challenge the cardiovascular system while minimizing stress to the skeletal system. In other words, biking and swimming are non-load bearing, effectively reducing impact forces on your joints.

Now that August has arrived, most runners have built a strong base, gradually increasing their mileage each week (no more than 10 percent in time or distance). They’ve also likely run hills for strength, or hit the local track or trails for speed work. It’s a classic recipe for success.

Adding a little variety while keeping your key running workouts consistent can lighten the psychological and physiological loads or stresses to the mind and body. Do not fret – you are still a runner, so keep doing the long run (conversation pace) at least every other weekend, and one or two tempo runs (current 10K pace, no conversation), plus speed session once a week. You will still be running three to four times a week.

A few cross-training options:

Biking

First, ensure your bike fits properly. Most bike shops can do a fit test for you or go online www.caree.org/bike101bikefit.htm. A proper fit reduces the potential for knee and back pain. One of my favorite bike rides is along the Turnagain Arm Bird Creek to Girdwood trail. Stay alert, as bears are in this area. A few years ago I saw two brown bears in the tall grass just 100 meters off the trail. Talk about feeling vulnerable, my pace picked up smartly.

Swimming

Hopefully, you know how to swim. This is another skill where taking a lesson can help improve performance. The correct stroke is performed over and over, so muscle memory of the proper skill increases efficiency and enjoyment. Swimming is a life skill we all should have, especially in Alaska. Beginning workouts mirror running formats: Steady pace over time/distance building to 30 to 45 minutes is a realistic goal. Or try speed sessions of various distances, just like your track sessions. Warm up with an easy swim of about 500 yards, and then try five repetitions of 100 yards with a 30-second recovery. Finish with a 500-yard cool down. Most communities also have swim clubs or masters swim teams that offer organized workouts and stroke critique. Try this website for basic tips: www.totalimmersion.net/.

Pilates

A super tool to strengthen your core, especially the abdomen and back. Studio One Pilates on Old Seward Highway in Anchorage is my top pick.

Orienteering

Power hiking, using a map and compass to reach designated checkpoints, can actually get your heart rate up. Analytical route-finding skills are honed and can be enjoyable when competing with a teammate.

 

Chores

Home activities such as yard work, splitting wood, vacuuming/cleaning can also qualify, plus spousal points are earned.

Yoga

Increases flexibility and breath control.

Volunteering

It’s good karma to give back to your sport and community. Every event exists thanks to the generous support of volunteers. All the events listed in the Alaska Runners Calendar need volunteers. One great event to volunteer at is the Big Wild Life Runs. Imagine getting a long-sleeve tech shirt and a free pasta dinner for your efforts. Strength training is offered for early birds who volunteer for set up. Cleanup and teardown crews always need help. Just go to www.bigwildliferuns.org/index.html.

Keep striding and smiling,

— Coach Mike

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