Monday, January 6, 2014

In which I talk about cross training in a nice way!

This winter I have only a couple races on the horizon. For a brief moment after Wednesday's 10K I got a feeling of nostalgia for the good old days when I had a race almost every weekend! That dissipated quickly when I remembered how much of that time I spent on the DL... Nothing says "No thanks, not again" like reminiscing about days spent with ice packs, a bag of icy cold peas shoved down my pants, the need to take out stock in my chiropractor's business....

The theme for this winter is to become stronger. I do indeed emphasize that over "faster" which I imagine my running buddies everywhere are cringing about. Faster should, in fact, be a logical by product of stronger and if so, awesome. I always want to get speedier, duh.

But right now? Stronger it is.

Skiing in zero degree temps is indeed crosstraining!

We all know I struggled with my left leg mildly from the time around GCI to after NYCM when I called it quits and took a couple of weeks off. While I still hesitate to call it an injury, as it did not sideline me, it certainly was a nuisance and a worry. The general consensus is that it was a combination of piriformis syndrome, a mild case of sciatica (nice, general term there...) and basic, boring overuse. In a nutshell it was infrequent stabbing pain in my ass. Fun!

I have had ZERO pain since late November. I most certainly feel that that particular leg is still weak and I am working hard with cross training and serious core/strength work to get it to buck up! I do feel that this is something I have 100% control over and that if I can achieve greater fitness I will not have a recurrence.

My non runner acquaintances are baffled that I could have trained all Summer/Fall the way I did and still come out of the season feeling as though I developed a major weakness.
But here is what happened.
Between GCI and Smuttynose I had a great Marathon training cycle- I built up some good running stamina but really neglected any form of cross training. I tended to favor the left leg slightly as it was having occasional painful flare ups. From the time that I began to taper for Smutty (mid September) to the time I finally took a break (Early November) I did little more than race, recover, try to maintain, race, recover and so on!
It was a good way to get thru a busy time but not a recipe for gaining any strength.

So while I might not have high running miles for the next 6 weeks or so I will be putting in very normal total hours of working out. Apparently, I have come to a place in my life where I deem this acceptable. Pre Boston I will ramp up the mileage per the norm, and look forward to that as long runs are definitely part of my lifestyle. This is the first time that I have really accepted forms of exercise other than running as legitimate workouts. Believe me, when you complete one of Kelsey's core routines if you aren't tired and a little (or a lot) sore, you aren't doing it right!!

Look closely. Those are bike rollers! Yikes!

I really hope to be a runner forever. I picture myself as a tiny 75 year old woman running Boston like a boss and finally winning my damn age group! Having life long running goals is a big motivator for staying as healthy and strong as I can. Some people can run 100 plus miles a week, every week and their bodies can handle it. I find that is not the ideal for me, at least not at this time in my life! I like to put in plenty of miles, and I certainly would enjoy a nice, relaxing 8 miles of pure junk over 40 minutes of core and TRX... But I can see that this is for the greater good so I embrace it, dammit!

So here's to you, by left butt/hip/piriformis! A better 2014 for all of us and lunges and squats for the win!



  1. I thought I told you that you are not allowed on the rollers until I am better at them then you!!! -.-


  2. why the rollers rather than a more stable-less-death-inducing type of bike trainer? just curious. I think cross training is key. and i've done exactly 0 marathons so I am clearly an expert on this subject. But, I also have no pain either so maybe I do have some clue… lol :) Swimming is next!

    1. Rollers force you to work on your balance/stability... Something that I am very, very bad at. Also, rollers are a fun party trick! If your parties only include athletes that is.... Good luck with the swimming, don't drown or get eaten by pool sharks ;-)

  3. I used to get upset if I felt I couldn't do that 5mile recovery run post speed or post long run, until I met Bennett Cohen ( He talks a lot about junk miles. Now I listen to my body - and go on the eliptical machine instead of running just to run. My injury is healing and I am still getting stronger. I too want to be 75y.o. one day and rockin' it at the Boston Marathon!