Cross Training

Rest Days.

Cross Training.

Time off.

The more miles you run the better.  The faster the mile is the faster you will run a race.  Go hard or go home. 

These are just some of my favorite topics about running or any endurance sport in general.  Over my past 2 months of eliminating essentially one of my favorite things of the day, I have had plenty of time to read books, blogs and other information about running.  Not limited to any and all of these topics. 

And I have done a lot of thinking.

If you a runner how do you feel about cross training?  How do you feel about taking time away?  Rest days?  A mile is a mile fast or slow?

I feel like there are so many conflicted issues regarding running that I just never had to deal with for swimming.  It’s a well known fact you can over train for swimming and not know the difference.  I’ve spent countless 6 hour days in a pool before (and believe me it sucked).  I didn’t get injured from a week of doing that…it was years.

But that is another story.

Spending a week running too hard can land you some pretty serious and career pausing injuries.  If you were to run for 6 hours a day for a week straight, something (things) would break in your body.  If anything your mind might explode.   Even just upping your miles or running to quickly after a break can lead in injuries.  Everything with this weight bearing exercise eventually leads to injury.

But where was I going again, oh yes. 

Part of my injury problem was overtraining.  I was running mile after mile after mile (X20 for a total of 60 miles) weekly.  Pounding my legs into torture.  Not really torture per say because I felt great doing it (the majority of the time).  Every week that I thought about having a cut week was every week I started off with a few great runs to make me not want to waste those precious good runs.

Rest days…who does that?  (Just kidding I took a few).  But maybe not enough.

So this all leads to how I’m going to change up my routine a little bit eh?  Now that I’m getting back into running, I’m getting back into a routine.  Swimming starts soon (next week wahh!) and once again I’m getting back into that routine.   This post is not about my swimming-I’ll save that for another day.

Until October-I’m going to strictly base build.  Run for time not miles.  (I did that already last year so nothing new…I’ve always done that anyways).  Will that include running everyday?  I don’t know.  If it does, it does.  If it doesn’t.  I won’t worry if my body wants to arc it out that day.  Or do nothing that day.  I can’t force my body to race well if it feels crappy from an overload of bullshit miles.

Going into October, I may do a few speed workouts.  Not many but maybe a couple.  It all really depends on my jive.  By that time practice for swimming will have peaked into 6000-7000 yards.  (voms just thinking about that).

Will I run everyday if it means running meaningless miles if my body feels somewhat crappy?  No.  Will it mean running through some minor pains and aches? Well yes.   I’m not going to force my body to run through pains that will clearly lead to worse things.  I am, however, going to force it to run through cramps, through tired legs and through other minor occurrences.

Here is my tentative plan that I have spoken a lot with my coach about

Monday: cross train or one hour run

Tuesday: morning: easy 45 afternoon: workout

Wednesday: 1 hour run

Thursday: 30 minute tempo

Friday:  Easy 30-1 hour

Saturday: Normally race

Sunday: Long run  1.5 hour run

This should roughly come up to between 45-55 miles.  I won’t get my panties in a bunch if it’s only 40 miles especially if they have been good runs. 

Back to my philosophy on cross training.  I think that doing the elliptical or a machine that simulates running can help keep your endurance up but it will not make you a faster runner.  In my personal opinion, you can substitute easy running for cross training and still get the same benefits as doing that easy run.  You cannot do speed workouts on an elliptical and drop the same amount of time as you do running.

Don’t get me started in swimming because I truly believe they are almost completely different muscles and have little effect on each other.

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And finally-since I’m a rather honest person I’ll let you guys in on a secret.  Yesterday, I participated in a cross country race.  No I did not “race race” it, but I needed to run it so that I could stay eligible for NCAA championship races.  Incase you wondered, I finished in 22:10.  There were a few hills, lots of mud and lots and lots wind.  It was on the lake.

I felt great but did not push it at all (that would be silly).  In fact, I have no soreness and my legs are less tight then they were yesterday. 

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Chat me up about cross training.