Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Tis the Season"

Cross training- A way for me to improve my overall performance/experience or simply a way to spend money and get hurt?

Running seems to be what my mind wants me to do. I am like a hamster on an exercise wheel.

Run, Run, Run….
Run, Race, Run…
Race, Run, Race…

Running is what I am most comfortable with, it requires little equipment and I can get a good workout in even with little play time. Of course there is a downfall to the strategy of run, run, run. As we all know running engages a specific group of muscles and when I just run these muscles are continually called on. Yes as a runner I may become more efficient, but at the same time muscle imbalances occur along with overuse injuries (I think I keep Green Mtn Rehab in business during my race season). Also I know that during the running season I neglect my upper body and core whereas they, like my legs, are key components to my running performance.

Cross training can help solve all my problems! Ok not all of them, but I do believe it can certainly help. I have an extremely nice mountain bike, a cross bike, a gym membership (during what I deem the cold months), skis (backcountry, telemark, skate and classic) so what is my excuse for not using this stuff on a consistent basis?

Yesterday I struck out on my mountain bike, which called for biking shorts, jersey, knee warmers, arm warmers, gloves, helmet, sunglasses, shoes, multi tool, water bottle and bike. Geo and I rode a few miles to where we were meeting our friends to ride single track, beautiful colors in the woods, great single track (thanks to Fellowship of the Wheel) and nice conversation. I was actually riding well and setting the pace.  I felt confident, maybe too confident. We started downhill and came to a technical section and once I hit it I knew I had too much speed and too much front brake. I ended up riding my front wheel and only my front wheel as I headed for a tree.

I cleared the handle bars, hitting the ground and tree head first with the rest of my body and bike following behind. The boys were way impressed with my feat, I guess in terms of falls it was a solid one. Now with a headache, dizziness and pain when I tried to breath I decided the day of cross training was to be cut short.

Cross training and the benefits I see/imagine…

Tighten Up – Use different muscle and become strong like bull.
Reduce Impact of Old Age – Reduce the physical impact on my body.
Master the Mind – Partaking in things that don’t come as naturally and comfortably.
Kick It Up a Notch – Variety (a word that isn’t really in my vocabulary)
Loosen Up – Improve flexibility

Cross training and the downfalls I see/imagine…

Injury – Moving at high speeds on a bike makes for harder falls, ski poles with sharp tips can impale me, etc.
Equipment – Bikes break, skis need to be waxed whereas my running shoes may just come untied.
Time – Cross training seems to take up more time and much more planning, heck I even hurt myself at Boot Camp last winter.

So am I cool or a fool for cross training?


  1. Cross training, well worth the scrapes and bruises and even the headaches. There's always the risk of injury but you could also get run over by a truck any day so why not have some fun and enjoy life! Did some cross training myself yesterday, played superman. Great for the mind and sole.

  2. Jack all easy for you to say because you are young and bounce back quickly.