WHW: Mixing It Up.

You know those people who decide to try something new/visit a new place/take up a new hobby and literally spend hours reading about it, researching it and planning it out before they start? Yeah…that’s me. When I first started running, I spent hours reading articles on RunnersWorld.com, stalking running blogs and printing out beginner’s training plans. That’s just how I am. When I say I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it well.


During that early “research” period, I read articles/blog posts about the difficulty runners have with cross-training. They know they should do it, but can’t find the time because all they do is run. I just knew that would never be me. I wanted to become a runner, but I just couldn’t see myself running 6 days a week and doing nothing else. Here I am, 13 months later and I run 5 days a week and squeeze in a yoga or Pilates class maybe twice. All I ever want to do is run. I love yoga, Pilates and Zumba, but somehow running always wins out.

But after two weeks of no weight loss (no weight gain either!) and two runs during which random pains started up in my legs, I know it’s time to get serious about cross-training. Running has done amazing things for my cardiovascular fitness and my body has definitely gotten smaller, but I don’t really see any definition besides my calves. I’ve also noticed that my core is still extremely weak and let’s not even talk about my upper body. Nothing has changed since Middle School when I could only do 1 pull-up. Except now I probably couldn’t even do one. If I want to become a well-rounded runner, and athlete, I have to start building strength.


I really don’t want to overdo it and run the risk of an injury or tiring my legs out too much during training for RnR USA, but I do want to make sure that I’m working my entire body and not just my legs. So the plan is to do at least 3 strength sessions each week (Pilates or a Tone It Up! workout). I’d like to do some other form of cardio as well, so I’m going to attend a Zumba class twice a week. (I know the elliptical would be good for me, but if I’m going to spend an hour on a machine, it’s gonna be a treadmill.) I’ve decided to save yoga for my rest days since it gives me a really great stretch but not enough strength work.

I’m hoping this plan will give my body the push it needs to get through this plateau and will enhance my half-marathon training. I’m going to start scheduling my cross-training the way I schedule my runs so I won’t be tempted to skip them. I know that once I get into the habit of going, I’ll love it and won’t want to stop. I’m breaking the curse of the running-only runner one Zumba class at a time!

How do you work cross-training into your schedule and how has it improved your running?


4 thoughts on “WHW: Mixing It Up.

  1. i think you are smart to add in some cross training! i do a strength training circuit at my gym twice a week. it’s a full body workout and also includes core exercises (pilates), lunges and squats. i also try to do 10-15 minutes a day of some sort of pilates moves, just fitting them in when i can (often at night while watching tv, which is also when i foam roll). it is hard for me to make the time for other cardio when i’m training for a race, but i try to take a spin class once a week. i can’t stand the elliptical machine and am a complete klutz in the classes my gym offers (like zumba, step aerobics – yuck that just doesn’t work for me!). i also love love love yoga and wish i made more time for it. it is probably my favorite type of cross training to be honest. i love Beloved Yoga right in Reston. And OF COURSE i am a HUGE fan of Pilates!!!!! And Reston Pilates is the place for that :o) I see a tremendous difference in my running when i am consistent with core training and strengthening/flexibility exercises. My form is better, I am stronger and during those final miles of a race I am maintaining proper form even though I am getting tired – because I have a strong core.

    • I love Pilates and I’m saving up to buy a group of classes at Reston Pilates :)!! I think if all else fails, adding more Pilates into my training schedule will make a huge difference. A spin class is a great idea too. I used to take them here and there in college and it was such a good workout. I feel really silly in Zumba class, but I love it. I just figure there’s someone in there messing up more than I am lol! I’m also going to check out Beloved Yoga. I had an amazing yoga studio when I went to school in New Orleans and haven’t found one I love here yet. Thanks for the suggestions!

  2. Hi, I just really got serious with my running and have recently joined my local BGR! Black Girls Run chapter. I started taking a very intense boot camp class in September 2x a week and I have gotten so much stronger and now I feel that it has really prepared me for more intense running. I usually hover around 3-4 miles regularly and now on a whim I can run 6 miles with the group!!

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