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.


merrymishaps said...

I've only hit the pool once so far, but I'll be in there regularly for the rest of the summer preparing for a triathlon.

I hope I like it enought to stick with it a day or two a week!

Nat said...

Interesting, I did a lot of water work when I trained for my first marathon in lieu of pavement running. I think I may need to take it up again.

Thanks for the tips.

SLB said...

Great point - a XT day is not a rest day!