The Importance of Cross Training

So you want to start doing races. Great! Get lifting!

Wait…what?

Yes, unfortunately to be a successful runner, particularly one that participates in distance races, you have to do more than just running.

But fear not! There are so many cross training options out there for you. Into weight lifting? Great! Enjoy rock climbing? Go for it! Love putting on leotards and dancing to old Jane Fonda tapes? Hey, whatever gets you moving. The point is, pick something that is a good whole body workout. Just doing straight cardio all of the time will be great for your stamina, but you’re going to hurt. A lot. And your muscles may not be able to keep up with your lungs and heart.

This is just an example of a weekly training schedule. It is my training schedule, in fact. What is Muay Thai, you ask? Simply put, it’s kickboxing. And boy, does it work your whole body.

The biggest thing you should take away from that schedule is that there are REST DAYS. Never forget rest days. Do not, DO NOT try and train every day of the week forever. This is how you over exert yourself and end up getting some pretty bad injuries. And then you won’t be able to run. And that would be a tragedy.

Also, always remember that sometimes, shit happens. You may have to take a few days or even a week off because of an injury, illness, alien abduction, etc… It happens. Don’t beat yourself up about it, and just do what you can to get back on track.

For some motivation, feel free to use this playlist.

Self Motivation

Since I know a few of you are following this in hopes you’ll find the motivation and inspiration to start your running journey, I figured I would start off with a post about just that.

I’ll be totally upfront with you, there are plenty of days where I have ZERO motivation to run. In fact, I have a very love/hate relationship with running. I’ve never been a particularly athletic person. In fact, for the longest time, I really struggled with my weight and physical fitness. Typically, I would use my asthma as an excuse to not fully participate in whatever I was doing. Frankly, in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t done that and had been more involved in things like cross country. But, hindsight is 20/20.

This brings me to my main point of this post. The difference between PERCEIVED limitations and TRUE limitations.

Perceived limits are just that: what you believe to be your constraints. Your legs are starting to get tired. You’re starting to feel a bit winded. Your mouth is dry, so you must be dehydrated. Your back is starting to ache. All of these become excuses to stop. However, they are just that. Excuses. Walk for a minute or two. Stop and stretch. Drink some water. Fix your form. Easy fixes for you to continue to push forward and complete your run.

True limits are those things that you do NOT want to push. Pushing them will land you in the hospital. These include things like feeling like you’re ready to pass out or collapse, severe cramps, intense nausea, and sharp pains. Learn to listen to your body. Don’t ever push yourself so hard that you hurt yourself.

The reason I bring this up is because so many people use their perceived limits as a reason to stop and give up. Yes, you’re going to be tired. You’re going to be sore. You will look like hell, and maybe even a little ridiculous. But don’t let the fear of of these things get in your way. This is where YOU are the only thing holding you back.

Example of looking both terrible AND ridiculous.

In order to push yourself, figure out what types of things you need to do to force yourself to move forward. For me, I plan my routes in a manner that I HAVE to finish. Even if it means walking the rest of the way back, I at least did my mileage. I know that I tend to hit that “I HATE THIS. WHY AM I DOING THIS?” point about halfway through my run. So I make sure that at my halfway mark, there is no available shortcut. I just have to do it.

Let me tell you, pre-run me and post-run me hate each other. Pre-run me is a bitch that is way too enthusiastic about what she’s doing. Post-run me is usually an exhausted ball of pain.

In the words of Nike and Shia LeBouf, just do it.