Let's Mix it up!

BlogHer Original Post

Congratulations on sweating through speeding it up last week in the Inspiration to Fitness Track to 5k. Our 5k run is two weeks away. Are you feeling prepared? Excited? Nervous? A little of all three?

Perfect. :)

I believe even the most seasoned runners get butterflies before a big run or race. We ask a lot of ourselves when we run: we head out in hopes that our legs, our stomachs, our minds and our hearts will all be aligned. Getting a bit nervous is normal and let's us know that we're still challenging ourselves.

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Mix it Up with Cross Training

Cross-training keeps your body balanced by working different muscle groups, keeps your mind fresh so you look forward to your next run, prevents injury by preventing overuse, and works as a great alternative to a run when you need to take the day off.

Mix in cross training on days when you don't run. Shoot for at least one cross training workout a week to reap the benefits. If you miss a run or need to sit out because of pain, see if a lower impact workout that gives running muscles and joints a break works for you.

- Cycling/Spinning: Keep your running legs in shape with cycling or spinning. Time on the bike is lower impact than running but will keep your cardiovascular system in top shape! Take your bike to the trail or jump in a spinning class at your gym. If the weather outside is dreadful, look into getting a bike trainer to cycle indoors.

- Strength Training: Some good news: if you've been following this 5k track, you're already doing this one! Strength training (with weights or just body weight) strengthens the muscles that power your runs. Oldies like sit-ups, squats, lunges and push-ups are still effective. Check out circuit routines here or online, try a strength class at the gym or join a bootcamp in your area to mix it up.

- Walking/Hiking: Heal muscles tears and sneak in some hill training with a long walk or a hilly hike. Walk with friends or take your dog on a hike and you'll forget you're even exercising.

- Swimming: Swimming is non weight bearing and incredibly low-impact. Those laps can build your endurance and build upper-body strength. Jump in the pool!

- Yoga: Yoga can be an all-in-one workout and a great complement to running. In one session you can stretch out your sore muscles, build strength for your next run and refocus your mind so you're ready for what's next. Practice at a local studio or in your own home by following along with an online session (Yoga Download is my favorite).

What is your favorite way to cross train? Share it in the comments!

This Week's Workouts

New to the Track to 5k training plan? Forget how it all works? Check out the intro post and week one!

Stretch

Seated Hamstring Stretch- From a seated position, extend your right leg and bend your left leg, bringing your left foot to touch your right thigh. Rest your hands as far down your right leg as you can comfortably reach. Bend from the hip. Go far enough so you feel a stretch in your hamstrings but stop before you feel pain. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on opposite leg.

Chest and Shoulder Door Stretch- Stand hip-width apart in a doorway and place your forearms on either side of the doorway so your arms are slightly reaching slightly up. Slowly lean into the stretch with your body weight. Hold for 30 seconds. Try the stretch with your arms extended up. Check out this video for a great visual.

Run

Run for 2.75 miles, 4.4km or 30 minutes. As always, remember to give your body a chance to warm up and cool down five minutes before and after your run. Can you run for the full distance this week? Maybe you can go add in a bit of speed training?

Strength

Strength workout 8: 3 rounds of 10

We're going to have some fun with this new strength workout!

Diagonal Leg- Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat, hands on floor by hips. Lift hips off floor and tuck left foot under right thigh with your left knee pointing left. Keeping hips lifted, bring left knee out to left to untuck foot, then extend leg diagonally up to left. Return left foot to tuck position. Complete 10 reps and repeat on opposite leg. Check out this exercise from Fitness Magazine here.

Push-ups- Place your toes and hands on the floor, making sure your back and arms are straight. Keep your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart and tighten your abdominal muscles. Slowly lower yourself so you brush your body against the floor. Don't lock your elbows, and don't bend your back. Push yourself away from the floor to return to starting position. If necessary, modify with knees on the floor and aligned with hips and feet off the floor.

Golf Swing- Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly, elbows bent with hands in front of you. Lower into squat. Return to standing, balancing on left leg as you swing extended right leg diagonally across body to left (lift right leg as high as you can). Quickly return to squat. Complete 10 reps and repeat on opposite leg. Check out this exercise from Fitness Magazine here.

"Desire is the most important factor in the success of any athlete." -Bill Shoemaker

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