Tripping the cross training fantastic…

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=gym&iid=77000″ src=”0073/526f4228-0b02-4315-93d4-3e7e7cde2625.jpg?adImageId=7838539&imageId=77000″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /] Several weeks ago I started to come to the realization that there might be something missing from my fitness routine. Like the stubborn Aries that I am, I was reluctant to even consider that most dreaded of places, where human hamster wheels line the walls and acid-forming protein isolates are the protein de jour.

Through the summer, I was steadfast in my homemade strength training circuit, which yielded decent results. But my single set of free weights and minimalist routine just weren’t giving me the full picture of what I wanted. In addition, cross training and building strength during the maintenance season seemed like stellar ideas in preparing for my marathon training.

It all started innocently enough — a friend had a free one-week trial arranged for me at a local…. gym… there, I said it. Gym. Gym. Gym. He and another friend were my psychopomps into the strange world of flat-screen TVs blaring the Food Network while post-work, yet pre-home suburbanites worked out before catching their trains.

My first sojourn was into the world of group exercise – and a barbell class at that. The catchy remixes of top 40 songs undulated with the guttural screams of my glutes. The wisest of choices would have been not to do barbell-laden squats the day after an LSD, but I’ve never really been one for the easy route. But somewhere in the sweat, grunting and techno, my hardened loathing of all things “gym” began to soften… a little… sort of. It was terrifying in it’s own way, but I was actually enjoying myself (minus the squats).

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=cycling&iid=256365″ src=”0252/4322779f-3113-4113-96ff-c612e3940cd1.jpg?adImageId=7838113&imageId=256365″ width=”234″ height=”331″ /] I ended up enjoying the class so much that a few days later I went with another friend for a spinning class followed by another weight class. And that’s when the Kool-Aid hit. While I doubt anything will ever match the joy I get from running, as a certified cardio junkie, spinning’s smack is gooooood. In addition to that, several locations of this gy…. err…. “fitness facility”… ya, that sits better… also have pools, which along with the spinning will provide all the cross training that a runner could want.

Only a couple of weeks in, I’m already noticing a physical difference and have felt much stronger while running. It’s also giving me a more social outlet for fitness to contrast the often very solitary runs, and with the days getting shorter and shorter (darker and darker, colder and colder, etc.) it’s a welcomed reprise.

The past week’s runs:

Date Distance (km) Pace (/km) Time
November 17 10 5:00 49:51
November 19 13 4:52 1:03
November 22 20 5:53 1:57

One response to “Tripping the cross training fantastic…

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed the experience Matt and yes, cross training will definitely make you a stronger runner. Maybe not faster as you are already fast but your endurance will improve and this can only be a good thing when you start thinking marathons. Anyone who has done one will tell you, nothing prepares you for your first marathon. You can train all you want but until you do it, you have no idea on how challenging, both physically and mentally it can be.

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