Sooo…”cross training”

This is one of those posts I mentioned on twitter that I had been mulling over. I needed to let it “percolate” if you will, lots of back and forth going on in this brain of mine.

The topic? “Cross training”

I put it in quotes because I think part of my problem with the concept of cross training is that I was trying to jam it into a more conventional context versus looking at my own approach to my workouts and realizing that I already *do*cross-train.
…just not in the way I was thinking I had to or needed to.

What am I talking about??

Well what else could be on my mind by the marathon that’s um ohhhh a YEAR away. Yes, I can’t freakin’ stop thinking about it. I hope you guys don’t get sick of me too quickly because I have a feeling 26.2 is going to be mentioned in far too many posts in the next few months or so.

But anyway, you all know by now that I’ve been thinking about how I want to approach the marathon and training for it. I’ve already mentioned that above all else, I want this to be a fun experience and not *just* a shitton LOT of work.

But other than that, I want to approach training my way. As per the usual, I’m not a huge fan of someone else creating a training plan or regime for me. What can I say? I guess I’m not into rules (even though I’m so Type A, odd…)? And part of training for a marathon (or any big endurance activity, really) is training smartly and making sure not to overdo too much of a good thing.

So I was sitting here thinking…

…Do I need to start adding another type of cardio into the mix? Spin? Elliptical? Something else?

…But where would I fit that in? I don’t want to be doing cardio five or six days a week…especially not on top of  the miles and miles of running, and the barre n9ne classes I take each week.

…Which reminds me…barre n9ne. Hm, wait a minute. That *is* a form of cross training (in my book), duh, why didn’t I think of that?

…Ok, so maybe I don’t need to add *another* type of workout in, I just need to continue to embrace focus. On running. On barre n9ne. On rest days.

…And if my knees or joints yell at me? That might mean an extra rest day. Or one less day of running each week.  And  just being flexible.

Ok, it’s settled. This is how I’m gonna approach this marathon. Just like any other race I’ve trained for and killed run.

My way.

Enough overthinking. It’s time to trust my instinct. Stop falling into the comparison trap. Stop trying to force fit workouts into my schedule just because I feel like I *have* to incorporate spinning or the elliptical or something else low-impact. Why not just be content with the endurance, flexibility and strength I’m gaining from barre n9ne and let that do the trick? And instead of fixating on how “other people” do it…simply remember what my body is capable of. Letting my mind go, and trusting my body to do the work, all 26.2 miles of that work.

…is it time to start training yet?? 😉


28 thoughts on “Sooo…”cross training”

  1. So I’m not an expert but here is my opinion: another form of cardio isn’t necessary, it might be good in the freezing winter months which will break up the treadmill boredom.
    I’d maybe look into doing some weights. Your legs are superstrong from running, but adding some strength to your upper body as well as maintaining strength in your legs it will make you more balanced and help you relax in those tough late miles. (If doing weights isn’t your thing, you can do push-ups and other types of “home” exercises.) Just emphasize low weights high reps.

    • I’m no expert either — but for me, I just don’t love many other forms of cardio. I used to spin but I don’t belong to a gym anymore (I have a treadmill at home)…and have actually thought about investing in a spin bike for our home gym (my husband kind of rolled his eyes at that one!!). But, like you said, I don’t know that I *need* another form of cardio. For the past six months I’ve done nothing but run and barre n9ne classes and it’s been the best combo for me so why mess with it?

      As for weights – I do lift light weights as part of my barre n9ne workouts which is a mix of light upper body work with handweights and resistance bands, bodyweight style work like planks and push-ups and a bunch of lower body work both on the floor (using bodyweight again) and at the ballet barre. All done with lots of reps, very low weights like you said. Good stuff 🙂

    • Do you think I need it or do you think I’ll just get bored with running as my main form of cardio?

      I’ve just been loving the focus (running + barre) so much. But then in the back of my mind (see, overthinking again!), wonder if my joints will get tired once I’m in full-on marathon training and will need to cut down one day of running in favor of a joint-friendly cardio like spin instead? But then the problem is – I don’t have a gym membership. So I guess what I said at the end of my post holds true – I am going to be willing to be flexible once I get into training and will listen to my body if it tells me it needs something else.

  2. You need to do what’s “right” for your body. Marathon training takes a toll and you will need complete rest days, too. Don’t be so hard on yourself – do what feels good for you and it will all work out!!!!! Promise. 🙂

    • Well one thing you can DEFINITELY count on is me taking full rest days during marathon training especially. Right now, I’m back to taking one per week (FULL rest) but with marathon training, I may up it to two full days depending on how I’m feeling.

      I’ll take your advice though and just trust myself, thank you friend!

  3. Remember what your body is capable of is a great way of looking at it. The definition of comparison is sucking the joy out of something. Don’t worry about the others, you are rocking it your way.

    Keep it fresh and don’t make it feel like “work”, that’s the best training motto.

    • Such a good point — the last thing I want to do is suck the joy out of this experience by getting too caught up in comparisons and stuff. Thanks for the dope slap reminder, you’re the best!

  4. Of course, do what you feel is right for your body, sis. I have mentioned that since I started doing some spinning (once a week for the past two weeks), I am liking the one day switch up from running, and it is a good cardio switch…for ME. Obviously, that doesn’t mean you have to do it either. But I like that you are willing to see how it goes and add other stuff in/re-jigger your plan as you go, if you need to. I think that’s the ticket. Not being rigid about it, which you’ve never been.

    • That’s exactly it – as long as I’m willing (more than willing!) to make changes as time goes on, that’s most important. So true. I guess if it came down to it and I felt I NEEDED spinning or something in the mix, I could get a temporary gym membership or something. But for now, I have loads of time to figure it out, just so long as I don’t start overthinking it with all this time on my hands haha

  5. Well, we’ve already discussed so you know my thoughts. You gotta do what’s right for you. I will suggest checking out smart coach because you do enter in your info (like the training intensity level, your recent race time, how many miles you’re doing, etc.) It gives you a good basic idea of how you might approach the runs. And while being rigid isn’t idea. I think a plan like that can make you remember to add in those stupid speed workouts and such so you get a well-rounded mix. Just a thought.

    • Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ll have to throw in “those stupid speed workouts” along the way — no avoiding that if I want to train smartly but also train hard for this race, right? Very good point my friend. Thanks for the email chat about this too!!

  6. I get the anti-plan plan. Give yoursef a break and don’t worry about the x-training to much. But I always am a proponent of giving something a whirl before I cross it off the list. Then, If you don’t like it, don’t do it. You may find that your body needs something different during different phases of training. I never thought I’d like speedwork or spin class – but turns out that I love both!

    • That’s a good point — not automatically nixing anything until I’ve tried it. So the whole non-plan thing is great for me, but if I do wind up needing more structure or more x-training, I’ve got to be willing to do that. If I need it. I’m hoping I’ll find a way to love speedwork…I’m getting there. 😉

  7. Would Cathe’s new low impact dvds work, maybe the yoga max and the yoga stretch for stretching after the runs. I know I need to do more on my flexibility.

    • I have been really working on my flexibility and stretching with barre n9ne but could always use another boost so yes, you’re right – some of those yoga-ish DVDs will help over the winter and spring I think. Definitely!

  8. You’re technically training now…by maintaining your level of fitness. And cross training in ways that keep your upper body strong will REALLY help in marathon training!

      • I just have that gift…. 😉

        Seriously, though. You’ve totally got it. A year will fly by…though some weeks of training will NOT (forewarning 🙂 )…and then you’ll be toeing the marathon line. It’ll be fabulous…and you’ll be ready.

  9. Everyone is different. I am one of the few runners I know who actually enjoys cross-training. But this much I will say – I was a workout-a-holic before I started running fulls and it still took (I would say) at least a year for my body to adjust to the demands of training for them. So I think it’s a good thing that you want to start prepping now. I also think the barre work you’re doing is already a huge head start in the right direction.

    • I love your insight – especially since you know what I’m about to get myself into here. Your comment makes me feel even better about making the right choices for me, cross-training my way, included!

  10. Absolutely cross train! I think barre n9ne is a great form of cross training, from what I know about it.

    Remember what I told you the other day? About how I broke up my long “runs” when I trained for my first half? It’s a great thing, if we have epic blizzards again. The only other thing I’d say about other cardio is that you don’t need it, but the elliptical and bike can be easier on the legs for recovery days when you need them.

    • You’re right – I can and should be flexible, especially during the winter. And I definitely plan to, will just have to get creative with some cross training options (other than barre n9ne of course) since I don’t belong to a gym!

  11. Um, hi, my name is Melissa, and I haven’t been a very good blog friend. I’m catching up…be prepared for comments galore.

    Think of it this way, Jess: you’ve trained for two half marathons…that’s 26.2 miles. You’ve successfully hammered out two really great races and times. How’d you do that? Your way.

    I see a lot of marathoners trainining these days and included in that training is a lot of spinning classes (at least from what I’ve seen), and I don’t know how they do it…specifically because of the lack of rest days and their joints needing rest. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in thinking you need to do it just like everyone else.

    YOU are successful. Do it YOUR way. 🙂

    • Ahh, I love your blog comments, no matter when you “catch up” – you’re the best! and have such a way with words and great perspectives! You’re right – I’ve trained my way the whole time, why let how “others” do it mess with my confidence? I got this, right??

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