For the past 11 weeks, I’ve been running 4-5 times a week (usually 5), cross training one day, and resting one day. Before that, I was slowly building up to a comfortable 8 miles. The Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan that I’m (loosely) following has the first long run at 8 miles, so I figured I should build up to 8 and be very comfortable running 8 before starting my program. I usually add in an extra day of running to my week, as the program I follow has 2 rest days. If I need the 2nd rest day, I take it.
I spent a lot of time deciding what my cross training would be. I have been running for probably 5 years now, and doing not much else. Every once in a while I’ll dabble in spin or yoga or I’ll get to a gym and lift some light weights. I’ve never had a strong core, but I’ve always wished that I did. I ended up going with spin on my first week of the program, mostly because there’s a studio a block from my apartment and it’s reasonably priced. I also wanted something more cardio than strength. When I made that decision, I had no clue the amazing gem of a spin studio I had stumbled upon. I got to my first class and realized these bikes were like no other spin bikes I had ever seen. They’re called Real Ryders–they are on a hinge so that you can “turn” left and right by engaging your core. In the standing positions, you have to engage your core just to keep the bike steady. You get a total body workout this way. After my first class, I was toast. I came back to the apartment drenched in sweat and Sean thought I was the grossest. Not really, but kind of. It is SUCH an amazing workout. I’ve been going once or twice a week ever since and I can really feel the difference in my core. I don’t think I could ever take another spin class on a bike that isn’t a Real Ryder. I feel like I work three times harder on it versus a traditional spin bike.
Within the next month, I’ll be moving to a new neighborhood in Jersey City so the studio won’t be as close. That coupled with the fact that they recently significantly raised their prices if you’re not a monthly member has me looking for a new cross training routine. My new neighborhood has a community pool and a reasonably priced yoga studio, so I’ll probably swim laps some weeks and do yoga other weeks.
Cross training is probably one of my favorite parts of the week (other than my rest day of course). I love running, but 5 days a week gets really tedious…especially now that my long runs are 15, 16, 17+ miles. It’s also really important because it helps me build up my extremely pathetic core strength.
50 more days to go…this is getting real!