Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Hit the water!
At The Runner's Lounge, this week's "take and run Thursday" topic involves cross training.
As I begin to share my thoughts on cross training, I feel the need to remind everybody that cross training is NOT a REST day. We get quite a few victims in our PT clinic who forget this small fact. Many victims of overuse injuries like to sell themselves that a day without running equals a rest day. Face it, we've all done it. Remember that just as cross training is a great adjunct to your sport so is true rest.
Over the years I have done a variety of cross training activities. I would have to say that off road biking and swimming are my favorites. I picked these up after a hamstring injury put my running on hold. I couldn't believe the total body work out that off roading gave me. The thrill of zipping through woods on a single track trail and getting airborne reminded me of snow skiing. I was hooked! The next season, I upgraded my bike and actually entered an off road race. I would ride after work 2 or 3 days a week and really felt that this helped my running. My riding came to a sudden end with a fairly bad end over in which I fracture my clavicle. This made working at my job difficult. I realized that I was lucky that this was all I injured. Because I am a father of three and can't afford to miss days from work, I decided that I better stick to safer cross training.
Thus, I returned to swimming. This has been a great way to help my running. I don't enjoy swimming nearly as much as biking but, I do like the strength changes in my upper body & core. I have found that swimming with a pull buoy is a great way to decrease the load on my legs. I get a great cardio workout by increasing my strokes per breath. The pull buoy eliminates the need to kick and it helps to keep my legs up in the water. As a result, I don't need to swim very far to get a good cardio workout. I work my core my contracting my abdominals as I pull down into the stroke. I was swimming 2 times per week but have gotten away from this over the last year. Hopefully with warmer weather and writing about this, I will find the motivation to hit the water again.