cross training

The AMT

On Tuesday I posted about cross training using the AMT.  Something I struggle with (both in real life and internet life) is assuming people know exactly what I know.  For instance, I’ll cross train on the AMT and quite a few people asked what it was.

Visual reference (me watching grimy realityTV with no nose):

amtme

Cliff notes: It’s another cross training tool and very similar to an elliptical.

Anyways I thought I would just give an overview of why I chose the AMT and what it is.

I’ve used an elliptical for fitness long before I started running.  I would use elliptical to stay in shape during the swimming off season, to supplement miles when I was coming back from injury and of course when I was injured.

I’ve used a standard elliptical.

I’ve used the Arc trainer.  (Similar to an elliptical but can go into much higher resistance).

And right now my current favorite is the Precor AMT.  The AMT is a stairstepper crossed with an elliptical. To be 100% honest, the reason it’s my favorite cross training device is because I have the option of the AMT or the elliptical at the gym. Since I’m a member of Anytime Fitness, it’s a smaller gym with fewer options.

On any elliptical, I like to do one of the preprogramed workouts.  I don’t care to be messing with the buttons once I begin my workout. There are a number of different programs from cardio to weight loss to hill workouts.  Personally my favorite is to do the cardio setting.  I normally click the program and then workout an hour.

Honestly a lot of people make cross training a lot harder than it has to be.  Yes, it stinks being couped up inside but most have a TV, music or something to keep you entertained.  It isn’t as if you are staring into a blank wall.  If anything you can buy a relatively inexpensive music player to bring for yourself if your gym only provides a wall to stare at.

The fact about cross training due to injury (or just cross training in general) is that you have to put in the time.  You cannot expect to cross train for 10 minutes and think it’s equal and going to preserve the fitness of a 7 mile run.  It won’t.  You must put in the effort.  I’m not saying go crazy and pretend you are running your fastest mile ever, but you do have to commit to putting in the time and effort.  Otherwise, like anything without effort you won’t see results.

Cross training does work if you put in the time. If you dedicate time that you normally would be running (or doing whatever) it will work.  If you half ass it or dedicate less time…it will work for the effor you put in.

Questions for you:

Have you tried an AMT before? What is your favorite type of elliptical?

On another note, I’ll be writing an “all about me” post soon.  If you have any random questions (about anything in life, favorite movie, color, college, high school, did I collect pokemon cards (yes)…feel free to ask.

 

Base Building Week 2 (76 miles)

This became another week of quality training.  I haven’t gone 2 for 2 since the summer. 

Monday: 11 outdoor, easy recovery  
Tuesday: 12.3 outdoor easy recovery  
Wednesday: 11.55 Treadmill Progressive (8:14 pace overall) Nike Training club Abs
Thursday: OFF NTC Abs+Arms
Friday: 12.4 miles (8:34 pace) with Tim NTC abs
Saturday: 16.5 miles 7:50 pace with Greta and Meghan  
Sunday: 12 miles recovery P90x
Total: 76 miles  

 Training: 

It started off with recovery runs after my race last week.  I wasn’t unusually sore but I was sore and I definitely knew that it worked muscles my legs were not used too.

I was able to get outdoors Monday and Tuesday and for the most part both runs were uneventful.  They were just east recovery runs.

On Wednesday, the weather prevented me from going outdoors.  When I first got on the treadmill I decided I was going to do a hill workout.  Around 8 minutes into the run I was not feeling it so I went to a normal (for me) 1.0% incline.  Around 15 minutes the treadmill shut off randomly.  Within the first 15 minutes I had lost all motivation to run.  After restarting the treadmill, I realized I felt pretty good so ended up doing a progressive run.

Thursday I decided to rest.  I wasn’t feeling as if I desperately needed a rest day but wanted a day for myself. In my training this Spring I want to take a rest day most weeks whether or not I have a race.

Friday I had the rare opportunity to run with Tim so we did a nice and easy shakeout run. Saturday I went up to Princeton to run with one of my Oiselle teammates Greta and Meghan.  I was a little bit nervous because I knew the pace would be moving (for me) but it ended up going by really quickly.  Princeton is a lot hillier then Browns Mills so I was happy to be able to get some hills in too.  It was definitely a run that put me outside my comfort zone (speed wise and with the hills) but it was a run that made me stronger.

gretameghan

Success. Myself, Greta, Meghan.

Sunday (today) I plan to do a nice shakeout and easy run.

Cross training/core:

I’ve been actually doing it and I’m proud of myself for that.  My core has been feeling stronger. Nike training club is still my favorite (free) app for core workouts.

Next week:

I hope to get in about the same amount of mileage.  I am running the Virginia is for Lovers 14k back in VA Beach on Sunday.  Living about 5-6 hours from VA Beach now there are a few races I will drive back down for.  The majority are run by J&A Racing (the directors of the very well known Shamrock).  I always enjoy driving down to VA and seeing my friends as well as their well put together runs so I’m rather excited.

Finally, please vote to send me to Napa Valley.  There are 2 weeks left in the contest and every vote counts. 

Questions for you:

Would you rather run hills or a speed workout?

What was your favorite/best workout of the week? 

Base Building Week 2 (60ish miles)

This could be the first time in a while that I chose to take two days off of running this week instead of one.  I don’t regret that decision because I had a pretty solid week.

Monday: 12.2 outdoors (8:13 overall pace) P90x Ab ripper
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 11.55 Treadmill (8:23 overall pace) Nike Training Club Alpha Abs
Thursday: 12.3 outdoors fast finish (7:43 overall pace) P90X
Friday: Cross train
Saturday: 12 miles easy (untimed, recovery) P90X
Sunday: 4 mile race

Each run I had this past week has been productive.  I cannot complain about any of them.  My body recovered really well.  I blame part of that on good nutrition and part of it on sleeping inside because it’s so cold.  It was very hard for me to take two days completely off of running.  My “junk/easy” miles were just completely removed from this situation which resulted in much lower mileage.

On Monday, I was able to get outdoors for a warm run.  Warm! I was wearing shorts.  I honestly didn’t believe the weather man when he said it was supposed to be zero the next day…

rundrawing

Incase you wondered those are large snowflakes

He wasn’t lying though and it was too cold to run outdoors on Tuesday.  I didn’t sleep well and felt really tired and sluggish.  I was a bit upset but knew that it wouldn’t be beneficial for me to run.  I talked about that being a top reason I like rest days here.

Then Wednesday I ran on the treadmill.  I didn’t feel bad nor did I feel great.  I felt bored.  After spending all of last winter logging 70 mile treadmill weeks,  I’m tired of the treadmill.  It has been boring lately.  Not even the Beibs, the Maury show or Ellen can keep me entertained right now.

Thursday I decided I would get outside.  I was not taking no for answer. I started off around 8:50 pace.  I had hoped for a faster paced run this week to work on my turnover.  I can’t really explain it but around mile 7 I just took a leap of faith and decided to push down from an 8:30 mile to 7:30 and hope I could keep it going.  After a 7:30 mile felt good I pushed further and ended up running the last four miles at 6:49, 6:44, 6:49 and 6:42).  I was really proud of this run and couldn’t be happier.   This is my favorite run of this training cycle.

Friday I decided to do easy cross training.  I had been back and forth about it because I knew taking 2 days off would equate to not running a 70 mile week but decided it was okay because I was hoping for faster runs. Then Saturday was easy to stretch out the legs, nothing remotely exciting.

Today (Sunday) I am doing a 4 mile race so I’m hoping it goes well!  It’s rather hill so anything under 6:30 pace will be good with me.   Although the race is hilly, it will serve as a nice baseline.

Finally please don’t forget to vote for me for Napa.  Enjoy the Superbowl!

Questions for you:

How many rest days do you take weekly? 

I normally either take one complete rest day or cross train for one day…but this week I did both.

Which team are you going for in the Super Bowl? 

Why Rest? Why Cross Train?

After last week of being sick I began to ask myself, when do I take a rest day.  Will I take a rest day if I’m very sick?  If I have a head cold?  If I’m sore?  If I’m achey?  If I have the flu?  If it’s raining or my garmin has died?  What qualifies in my mind (personally) as the need for a rest day?  I suppose this differs for everyone.  Some people can run on little sleep, without a garmin, without friends, in the 35 degree rain…some people can’t.  Some people are injury prone…some aren’t.

First I am probably the most paranoid person for injury.  Since I’m pretty clumsy and run the spectrum of injuries, stress fracture, knee problems, falling and breaking my arm on ice, getting hit by a cylist and remember that cyst that cut me out of training for 3 months?  Instead of linking to all those posts I’ll just link to my injury post.

Needless to say I am very injury prone.  Though my only real running injury came from improper training in 2011 (tibial stress fracture), I have had multiple other injuries from doing stupid things.  Like frolicking on ice and breaking my arm.

I love the Maury show and drama so you’re welcome.

maury2

I am very open with there have been a very workouts I wish I didn’t doI wish I had rested and honestly I felt no better afterwards.  The  entire duration of the workout I just felt sick, not feeling great and not feeling like I got anything accomplished but making myself worse.  This could just be me though but I’ve found “light cardio” does not help me if I feel sick.  Rest and recovery does.

Things that immediately qualify me to take a rest day:

  1. If I didn’t get enough sleep.  I don’t like to work out on minimal sleep and I have always felt terrible doing so.  I know there is a motivational poster that floats around on pinterest that says “the only workout you regret is the one you don’t do” I don’t agree.  I would almost always rather sleep in then get in a morning workout if I didn’t get 8 hours of sleep.  I do not function well on less.  (I suppose I’m a high maintenance sleeper).
  2. If I’m sick.  If I’m sick I normally feel like dirt to begin with and I normally didn’t sleep well the night before.  So I won’t have a productive run and I’ll be grumpy before, during and after.  So no working out for me.
  3. If I feel any sort of injury coming on.  If it’s a deep pain, a weird stretched muscle, something just feels weird I absolutely will not run on it.  It takes one stupid move to run on a small injury and bam stress fracture or some serious injury. I would know because it led to my stress fracture.  (which I can attest to poor training).  If it doesn’t feel better with a day or two of rest I will follow it up with a deep tissue massage and perhaps light cross training (if it doesn’t aggravate the injury).  Every single “niggle” I have had has been cured with this solution (so far so good).
  4. If I’m sore or my body is begging for a rest day.  I don’t plan rest days but normally once a week my body is saying “hey girl, let’s curl up on the couch and catch up on all those DVR shows you recorded”.  Then I oblige, watch tv and twitter all day long.

I think those are the biggest reasons I’ll take a rest day.  If I notice an injury I will sometime cross train or sometimes take a full rest day.  Either way I will not do anything that I feel is aggravating it.  Taking one rest day is not going to destroy your training like taking 2 months off because of an injury.

Here are some situations that I think it’s beneficial to do a light, short run or cross train.

  1. When you are sore.  If you can distinguish the feeling of soreness versus potential injury soreness I think a light run will do you wonders.  I read (somewhere ? I cannot find the article again) that doing a light run after a hard workout or race is beneficial.  I have always found that doing a shakeout run 6-8 hours post race allows blood flow and I normally feel a lot better than if I allow acid to fester there.  I will say I normally say that I have never regretted a shakeout run post race.  (obviously I did no shakeout after the marathon…lord knows I couldn’t move).
  2. If I am feeling lazy.  Sometimes it’s cold, rainy or miserable and I’m honestly not in the mood to run in the slightest.  After making every excuse I can come up with and knowing I’ll probably be miserable running…I settle for some cross training.  I wish I could tell you I push through laziness and run every time I’m not feeling it, but I don’t.  I cross train 75% of the time but once I’ve made up my mind not to run I normally don’t turn back.

So those are my personal rules and thoughts of whether I will run or cross train or rest.  It is much easier for me since I am uncoached and don’t follow a specific plan.  That is one reason I do enjoy being uncoached (I guess) is that if I’m generally tired, sick, ect I do have the option to take off.  I am absolutely sure a coach would allow me to take off if I was sick or wasn’t feeling well but I have found it easier this way.

Finally, as you all know I entered a contest by ZOOMA to win an entry for myself and a reader to the Napa Race they are hosting.  The credentials include being  an “inspirational blogger” and living a healthy lifestyle.   One of my dreams is to run a race on the West Coast so I would really appreciate it if you were able to vote for me.  You can vote every day.  Thank you again for your support throughout my running and blogging journey.  I’ll probably be posting this daily because you can vote daily.  I am a bit sorry if it get’s obnoxious but I really really want to win.  I even created a little photo of me on the side.  Now you can stare at my face smiling and running for the next month.  So please help make my dream come true and vote daily.  :-)

napavalleylolz

Question for you: What determines if you will  cross train or rest?  

Climbing the Mud Mountain Training Week (70 miles)

This week has been a good week training wise.  I am starting to feel more confident in my training but I know I have quite a long ways to go.  I feel like I’m honestly starting to climb up a big mountain that is layered with mud.  I want to get to the top (ie back in peak fitness) but I don’t know how long it will take and since I’m impatient and I want it to happen right now.  Here is a photo of my training that accurately depicts how this cycle will go.  I’m not sure why I only opted to draw pants on one of my figurines but I guess that is how it goes.

fitnessmountain

Since this is a running post, I updated my early 2014 race schedule.  2014 is all about piling on a lot of shorter races in between longer.  (For instance 3 5ks and half monthly would be perfect for me). That being said, my wallet does not agree with $30 dollar 5ks so I will be planning accordingly.

Monday: Untimed 12 around my neighborhoods
Tuesday: Untimed 13 in the State Park
Wednesday: Hangover 5k (19:42) total miles: 13
Thursday: Untimed 10.21 around my neighborhood
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 11.1 miles on the treadmill (8:33 pace).
Sunday: Planned Freehold Winter 5k Series Cancelled
10.8 miles on the treadmill (Mountain climber program ranging from incline 1-9.0) 8:47 pace
Total: 70

All of my untimed runs felt surprisingly good.  I’m not sure if that was the cold weather numbing my body or I actually felt good…but I did! 

Next week I would tentatively like to be around the same mileage with another rest day. After my last injury in 2012 (my cyst) I’ve either taken 1 day off or cross trained weekly.  I’ve still gotten the same amount (if not more) mileage but not running 7 days a week and having a rest day has kept me injury free.  (At least in my opinion so I will keep going with that).  I didn’t really want to run on the treadmill on Saturday but it was very icy out and I don’t trust myself in the ice anymore.  Since I don’t have a good record with ice (remember when I slipped and fell breaking my arm on ice in 2012?) I opted to be safe and run indoors.  The run went by quickly and that was nice.  I watched a documentary on feeding stingrays…living it up.  I ran by a local runner who I’ve made good friends with since moving to NJ.

The 5k series I’m planning on doing is every Sunday until February which negates my long run possibility unless I do it mid week.  I don’t plan to run 15 miles the day before or run 15 miles directly after a 5k.  I don’t have a need to do anything above 15 miles right now so that will probably be my long run if I choose too.  Sadly it was cancelled this week due to bad conditions (not really a big deal but I was looking forward to it).  I decided to go to the gym and do the “mountain climber” treadmill program for an hour and a half.  I maintained an even 6.8 pace the entire time when ranging from incline of 1.0-9.0.  It was probably one of the most challenging workouts I’ve done and actually I will *try* to do it once per week.  I know I’ll be sore tomorrow.

That’s all the excitement through training I have this week.  Just trying to keep warm in this arctic tundra that has hit the East Coast (and all across the US).

Questions for you:

Do you take a rest day weekly?

I will alternate between a rest day and cross training day depending on how I feel.

What is your race schedule looking like in January? 

Training for Nothing Continued

Last week was another pressure free and worry free workout week.  I didn’t expect to run but then the sudden urge for me to run hit so I went with it.  I am enjoying going to the gym and actually motivated to do core work and lift weights.  I can only hope this keeps me continuing to be injury free.

Last week’s training was a little bit scattered.  I didn’t (and still don’t) plan what I’ll do each week.  I read somewhere that you shouldn’t weight train the same muscle groups every day so I didn’t… Since I started running again I hope I can keep up with doing strength and core.

Monday: OFF
Tuesday: AMT and core/back
Wednesday: AMT and arms
Thursday AMT and core
Friday: AMT
7 mile run
Saturday: OFF
Sunday: 10 miles easy in the State Park near my house

AMT Cross trainer:

It’s a new machine to me (as of last week).  It reminds me of an upgraded version of the Precor 100i.  I really like it a lot and I know I’ll be cross training on it quite frequently.  I cannot remember if I posted this but my gym is pretty small and only has two different ellipticals…the AMT and a normal elliptical you see at all gyms.  I tried the AMT and really like it.  What I’ve been doing is using it for an hour on 20 resistances with an incline of 5.  I haven’t been doing intervals or anything and schedule it around a good TV show.  I enjoy getting cardio and watching trashy tv.

amtme

Here is a nice gym selfie incase you have never heard of the machine before.

Running:

I had not planned to run on Friday at all.  Then all of a sudden around noon I got the urge to run.  I was excited to run and hadn’t felt that way since the marathon and decided to go with it.  I’m glad I did and I felt okay.  I didn’t feel great obviously because I haven’t run in close to three weeks.  It was certainly a little bit out of breath running a 9 minute pace but I know my fitness will come back eventually.  I don’t have a running plan yet or goal races to train for but I know in the next few weeks I’ll start planning for those. (I guess that is what I can do this week).

Saturday my calves were really sore and I just tired.  I wanted to run but I was entirely too tired and spent half the day wishing it was bed time.  So two rest days it was this week.

Next week:

The rest of the week was good and I’m hoping to run a few more miles in the next week.  We are going to spend Thanksgiving with my family in VA Beach.  There is a Turkey Trot in the area I’m still debating on doing.  I want to see all my running friends, I know it will most certainly not be a PR or anywhere close but it would be fun.  In fact I don’t even know if I would hit my marathon pace but it would be great to see friends.

Questions for you:

Best workout of the week? 

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? 

Changing My Mood

Since the race I haven’t missed running at all.  It’s been over two weeks and I’ve started regularly cross training on the elliptical as well as a bit of strength training.  I have made the executive decision to not do a whole lot until January.  After a year of logging a lot of 70+ miles, I wanted some time to rest my body and relax.  My foot is starting to feel better but I’m mentally not into it right now.  I want to work out but I don’t really want to run.

runninglastyear

 

This is a nice period of rest and off time.  My last period of no running was forced due to my cyst and I’ve never taken time off that hasn’t been for an injury.  Since last time was in the middle of the cross country season, I cross trained almost everyday and simulated running workouts on the elliptical.  Though it ate up a lot of time, it still allowed me to PR at the final race with only 1 week of running on my legs.

Anyways long story short, since I’m not training for anything I don’t really feel pressured to have a set schedule or time dedicated to workout.  For the remainder of the year I actually want to primarily focus on strength work.  I DO want to run a marathon in the Spring and don’t want to burn out.  I think towards the end of training last cycle, I just got very tired of running.  I didn’t realize it but every day seemed like a challenge.

Now that I’ve run a marathon I know I don’t need to train for 6 months.  I know I can do less and different workouts and get more out of it.  Though I’m still going to take another couple weeks off of running until I feel that twitch to run.

I don’t have a perfect strength plan right now but I do want to gain a bit of muscle and be stronger.  Sometimes I feel like an awkward noodle flailing around running so I’ll take this time to explore the gym and see what is working for me.  So my strength plan is to make it to the gym (which is .3 away from my house).

So for a while my training will just be training not to be an awkward noodle.  If you have any suggestions of good strength training workouts please let me know.  I don’t know much except for my internet research…

Questions for you:

Do you strength train?

Do you have any big 2014 goals yet? 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,419 other followers

%d bloggers like this: