Cross training

I am definitely not one of those runners that is guilty of ignoring their cross training.  In fact, cross training is what I do most of, because I actually really like everything else I do on top of running.  Because I am a creature of habit, my weekly workout schedule usually looks something like this:

Screenshot 2013-04-23 at 22.16.31Obviously in the run up to Paris, the only running I was doing was on Sunday, which is not ideal, but I think my fitness was good enough to let me get away with that.  The next time I attempt a marathon, I want to have trained properly for it.  This may mean that I will not have time for all of my group exercise classes which I am not happy about, but as my next marathon isn’t until January, 2014 (unless I make some unwise, flippant decisions in the coming months), I have a while to wean myself off of my current class addiction, and try to create similar exercises I can fit in when time is actually available to me.

In June, my bank account allowing, I hope to take a spin instructor course.  I have already completed an exercise theory course and my first aid, and this would allow me to earn a little pocket money whilst still getting to do the workouts I enjoy, and hopefully at a time more suited to my schedule.

I would also love to buy a decent barbell and some weights, so I can pump some iron to cheesy metal in my living room at 3am to satisfy my meat-head tendencies.

The final thing I’ve been starting to do is slotting mini workouts into my day whenever I have time.  Usually, I do a quick search on youTube for things like ‘butt workout’ and follow instructions for 10-15 minutes   However, youTube is also the graveyard of odd videos, and I have stumbled across some hilariously bad instructional videos.  Like this gem, which is equally hilarious and creepy.  Still, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t feel my butt work when following along.  Yes, I’ve used it 3 times so far.

But following videos online is limiting, so this afternoon, after work, I met my friend Grant for a gym session after telling him I’d plan an hour of stuff for us to work our way through.  The result?  Success!  If you count working up a sweat before chicken fajitas a success (I do).  Here’s what we did:

20 minutes on the elliptical to ‘warm up’.  I once read somewhere that it takes about 15 minutes for the body to fully loosen up, and I tend to enjoy adding just a little bit extra onto everything.

3 sets of the following:

  • 20 squats
  • 10 lunges on each leg
  • 10 man push ups
  • 15 hip extensions on each leg (possibly the lamest exercise for a male to do next to his female friend in a semi-crowded gym, so props to Grant)
  • 30 second plank
Hip extensions

Hip extensions

5 minutes on the rowing machine

10 minutes of core (plank, side plank, toe taps, a bunch of stuff I don’t know the name for)

10 minutes on the step machine

But no running.  I’m still kind of fatigued after Paris, since I scoff in the face of sensibility and ignore all guidance that tells me that I should rest after a marathon.  I gave it 3 days, but then I was back at the weights and cross training.  However, I am still in my twenties (which I remind everyone about frequently, because February, 2014 marks my entry into my fourth decade of life), so I refuse to accept that I am not indestructible quite yet, thank you very much.

Anyway, Texas 2014?  I’ve got my eye on you.  And I WILL sort out a training plan for you that incorporates running regularly while I have my cross training liaisons alone in dark corners at unsociable hours while everyone sleeps.  And I’ll even throw in the fancy stuff, like hills, fartleks (never going to stop being funny), and mile repeats (sounds gross).  Because even though medals are sweet, I kind of want to see what I can do if I throw myself into one of these marathons, balls to the wall.

Dripping With Sweat.

I know this is ‘technically’ a running blog (though my rants and other such things make it into posts frequently), but running is not my only exercise honey (as anyone who has peeked at my training record will have noticed).  I love Les Mills classes (Body Pump, Body Combat, etc.) because the music is really motivating, and I really feel like I’m pushing myself.  And who am I kidding, meeting up with fellow workout freaks for a cheeky early evening bitch is cathartic.  But the one class that makes me feel totally used?  Spin.

Spin is a Monday and Wednesday thing.  Twice a week is enough, for sure.  I always know I’m working hard when the veins in my hands go all ‘Madonna’ and every time I exhale, I sprinkle the ground in front of me with droplets of sweat.  I sweat, ladies and gentlemen, like recovering sex addict in a brothel.  I actually worry sometimes that I’ll run out of sweat and my brain will rattle away in my skull and I’ll step off the stationary bike with brain damage.  THAT much.

So what about you guys?  Are you soak-your-shirt sweaters, or refined, lightly perspiring beauties?

Sole-searching…

Terrible title, I know.

So after a week of self-inflicted rest, I started to ease myself back in to running on Monday.  I managed a 4.5 mile treadmill run before a tough spin class.  A few knee niggles, but the physio said run through minor irritation, stop if there’s sharp pain.

Tuesday I did pump, combat and power yoga.  Using my new ‘toes forward, knees-over-toes’ technique demanded of my by the physio, I managed the squat track with no pain!  I also managed combat, which is pretty high-impact, and didn’t feel awful afterwards.

Wednesday was a 2.5 mile run.  It would have been closer to 4-5 if I hadn’t idiotically locked myself out of my flat, resulting in a mad rush to pick up my spare keys from my boyfriend before the gym.  I also cracked out another 45 minute spin class.

Today?  I stopped by Run4it on my way to the gym, as the physio had also suggested I get some insoles to balance out my ‘flat feet’, as it will put less stress on my knees and also give the outer calves a bit of a rest (they were tighter than an Aberdonian at a car boot sale).  I bought some female-specific ones with extra cushioning (it all helps, I suppose) and upon enquiring about the price, managed to somehow avoid a minor cardiac event when I realized they’d set me back £41!  Entire pairs of running shoes can cost as little as FORTY-ONE FREAKING POUNDS!!!.  Still, think of the knees…

The insoles are for shoe sizes 6.5-8 (UK), and so it is expected to have to trim them down a bit.  Being lazy, I just shoved them into my shoes at the gym and ignored the ‘bunched up’ feeling my toes were experiencing, deciding to hit the treadmill and suck it up like a man.  The actual stiff part of the insoles felt weird to start with, but after about 10 minutes the felt really comfortable.

Best of all?  No knee pain during a 6 mile run! Worst of all?  That pain you get when you’re running when you know a toenail has pierced the skin on an adjoining toe, and you’ll be putting bloody socks into the washing machine later.

So – what I have learned over the last couple of weeks:

  • Bodies are really complicated
  • Rest is frustrating, but sometimes necessary
  • Knee pain can be caused by a zillion things
  • I have ‘flat’ feet
  • Foam rolling is painful
  • There is a 16 year old boy at school going about telling kids that kangaroos have 3 vaginas.  I have come to the conclusion that this is mainly accurate.

Tip: always trim insoles to avoid 'toe bunching'

An example of how one might look before and after ACTUALLY WORKING OUT!

This is kind of a follow up to my raging hate bomb against chicks that do sweet FA at the gym.

I took a photo of myself after work but before the gym tonight, and then I took a photo of my mascara smeared face post workout.  Please note that I look significantly more ‘whiffy’ and ‘scruffy’ in the after photo.  Please note the sweaty hair.  Please also note the matted, somewhat dried sweat creating a dull sheen on my face.

This, people, is what you should look like after you work out.  You should look like shit.

PS: I am digging my new scarf!