Posted by: Joe English | August 22, 2010

Short-answer Monday: Coach Joe on Treadmills and Cross-training

running-advice-bugIt’s time for our bi-monthly feature that I write for the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. This week we have two running related questions for the column. Keep those questions coming!

Question 1: To cross-train or not to cross-train

Amy writes in the with the following question:

Crosstraining? Seriously? Do I have to? Look, I’m just a fat girl who loves to run. I’m not training for a marathon or anything, maybe I’ll do a 5K or 10K in the fall. I run to help me lose weight (80lbs down 30 or so to go!).I know strength training is important so I’m trying to get more of that in. But the idea of “crosstraining” sort of mystifies me. What exactly is crosstraining? Does a yoga or pilates class at the gym count as crosstraining? Or one of those total body workout class thingies, does that count? I would really rather not sit on a bike for a half hour when I could have fun running. And the elliptical just feels unnatural, and don’t get me started on the StairMasterOfDoom. I could happily run 7 days a week if my schedule would let me. So, do I have to crosstrain? what are acceptable crosstraining activities? And what is an appropriate crosstraining schedule? And what can I do to make it fun?

Good question Amy. I’ll answer this in two parts. The first part has to do with what we call “pleateauing” and the second has to do with the benefits of cross-training itself.

One of the most important things to realize about exercise is that the way that you improve your fitness is to place a load on your body that is difficult for the body to handle. This creates a response, forcing the body to adjust, grow stronger and adapt. This means is that you get better when you push yourself. And, the opposite is also true – you will stop getting better once you are become accustomed to what you’re doing.

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