Monday, July 23, 2012

One's cross (training) to bear

In the past 7 days I've gone road running, trail running, hiking, and mountain biking.  Looking back another week and you can throw in road biking and weight training, and a little swimming a bit further back.  One of my goals for this year was to mix up my training in an effort to stay motivated and to avoid injury.  I've certainly been successful in the former, the latter is more of a mixed bag.

The biggest change has been the mountain bike which opens up a significant new level of activity.  The speed, full body workout, and potential for disaster keeps me motivated and alert.  While I love hiking and will never give it up, mountain biking is new and exciting.  There's so much to learn and experience, and I find new challenges each ride that are within my reach that I come away with a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that I've missed recently.

Trail running has also been a fun activity, one that adds variety to my weekly running mileage.  I'm not convinced it has been good for my injury, since I often end the loop in the Fells with a sore hip but I think it has been a good experience in general.  I enjoy the need to think and react while running, instead of the steady plod of one foot in front of the other.  Once a week seems about right for me, and I get the added bonus of surprising deer on the trail.

It's hiking season and we're heading north most weekends now.  We've got a few longer hikes planned and there's nothing like that feeling at the end of a long day when you arrive at the car, exhausted but satisfied with a job well done.  I'm mostly hiking in trail shoes and when we can we run the flat stretches.  With our weekends up north we have been hiking one day and doing 1-3 hours of mountain biking the next which makes for an easy drive home without being exhausted.

I still run 3-4 days a week, trying to mix in some variety (hills, sprints, races) but my routine is usually to just go out for a run and see where it takes me.  I still have a group of runners at work but our regular Monday run has taken a beating due to a lot of travel.  With the heat this summer my pace has been rather slow and methodical, but miles are miles.

Weight training is the odd ball.  I have a gym at work that I use when running, and I occasionally do sets of exercises that I've done for decades, but I don't really have a plan or goal.  This is probably where I would get the most bang for my buck, but I don't really have the energy to set something up.  Any suggestions for a training plan that would help me as a runner/hiker/biker?

The only other thing I would consider adding is swimming with the hopes of a triathlon in my future.  The logistics are hard to figure out so I'm just putting that on hold for now.

I wonder if watching the Tour de France and the Olympics on TV counts for cross training?

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