So, without further ado, take it away Tracy:
Hello, Be the Change readers! I'm Tracy, living and sometimes running on the Jersey Shore! I blog at "One Step at a Time" (http://tracycarroll07.blogspot.com), where I share my journey from weight loss story to taking on the world, one step at a time. ;-)
When Carlee asked for guest posts, I knew I wanted to do something. I just wasn't sure what. Then, it hit me. I run, but we all know that cross-training is essential to being a successful runner. So, here you go. I'm sharing my tips for cross-training and why it's a must.
1) Find something you ENJOY!
This is a given for ANYTHING, but it's a must for your cross-training. Why? Simple. It keeps you from getting bored and not enjoying it. Therefore, you'll stick with it! For example, I hate step classes. I'm not coordinated enough plus they're just not my cup of tea. So, do you think I make myself do them? No way! On the other hand, I love spin classes. There's something about hopping on a bike two days a week that puts me in my happy place. Plus, no fancy movements required! Therefore, I keep spinning because I like it and keeps me motivated. Just find what works for you and stick with it!
2) Include strength training and core work.
We all know cardio is easy and can be done almost anywhere at any time. However, it's silly to totally rely on cardio for workouts. Weights are our friends! I take a Power class at my gym twice a week, which works my whole body with a barbell for just less than an hour. If you're not so lucky as to have a class or access to a personal trainer to help with weight training, there's always books and Pinterest workouts. Some even involve no equipment other than your body and the floor! Same goes for core work! A strong core leads to the rest of the body being strong, so don't ignore it! I usually do two or three days of core work as well, and I feel the difference when I slack on it.
3) Find the right shoes.
No, you can not wear your beloved Asics that you run in to your kickboxing class. The point here is that you can't wear shoes designed for running in the gym. When running, feet only go in one direction. When you're doing other things (weight lifting, kickboxing, etc.), feet can move in different directions. Therefore, it is essential to find a shoe designed for TRAINING. Almost all the major brands have training shoes now, and they can be affordable. I actually cross-trained in shoes designed for running (but never actually ran in), and ended up getting hurt as a result. Needless to say, I got a pair of cross-trainers sooner rather than later. Take it from someone who's been there. Make the investment in training shoes. Your feet (and the rest of your body) will thank you.
4) Don't be afraid to switch it up.
Finding something you enjoy is important, but so is keeping it interesting. Getting bored with spin all the time? Do something else one or two days a week! I was getting bored doing ALL the spin, so for a few months I did kickboxing one night a week. It got me out of my rut and I was able to do something else I loved! Of course, this means you can add something else too. I love mind-body work, so I added a yoga class to my weekly workout routine. Of course, find what works for you and that you like and go from there.
5) Honor the rest day.
Yes, this is a part of training. Rest days were made for a reason, to REST and RECOVER! I take one full rest day a week, plus a second "active" rest day. Your body does need time to recover, plus it helps to get all the other "non-workout" stuff done, like blogging, or that pile of laundry, or spending time with loved ones. Take the rest day and enjoy it. You'll be glad you did!
So there are my tips for cross-training and even recovery. Working cross-training in will make you a more well-rounded athlete and *gasp* may even improve your running! Have fun and keep moving!
What is your favorite way to cross-train? Mine is SPIN!