Riding the cross-train to Recoveryville

In the spirit of trying to view the glass as half full (easier said than done sometimes when injury prevents you doing the thing that is your thing), I’m trying out some new activities and cross-training myself back to fitness. It’s hard to think about introducing new sports or workouts into a routine when you are so focused on preparing yourself for a specific event, so now seemed like the perfect time to experiment, and maybe become an overall better athlete in the process.

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Spin cycling.

I’d heard many great things about Spin, but never found the time or reason to try it until now. There is a great 75 min endurance spin class with 60 mins of cycling and 15 min of core work that I found at the gym next to my office. It’s an early start (7:00am), but you know, it totally kicks my butt, gets my heart rate right up, and makes me want to get out and cycle for real. Having the motivation of a class setting is really helpful to me right now – there is a kind of pack mentality that pushes me. I’m going to try and keep this going as the running resumes – I think it will help my leg strength and cardio conditioning and will help me greatly if and when I try my hand at a triathlon.

Weights.

Dabbled with these on and off forever. Managing to get an average of about two gym visits a week in right now, just focusing on core and upper body work. Again, the theory is that it will make be a stronger runner in the long term and maybe one day not too ashamed to take my shirt off at the beach. For now though, the shirt stays on (sighs of relief all around).

Yoga.

I have to be honest here, I used to scoff at yoga. Not anymore. A great work out, very relaxing, very challenging and really opens me up; muscles, frame, and judging by the amount I sweat, my pores too. I’m just doing this once a week, accompanied by Mrs G. I’ve tried both the Vinyasa flow yoga and Hot yoga – I like them both, and will continue to try both. I’m doing this on a Sunday night and am finding this a really nice way to relax before the start of another week. To the others out there still wondering about yoga I say get out and give it a go. I get that it can be a little intimidating as a beginner, but you know, you pick things up pretty quickly and, at least at the place I go to, every is far too in to what they’re doing to worry about the proficiency of your downward dog.

What I am yet to get stuck in to is swimming. I really want to swim more (actually, swim at all), as it is the exercise that really has it all (and at low impact), but I’m just not very good at it. I have no real excuse as there are two places I can easily go to, and what I really need to do is get a coach and learn a decent crawl stroke. Again, this is a pre-requisite if I’m ever going to try a triathlon.

So the real challenge going forward is going to be time. How am I going to incorporate some of these new workouts when I begin to ramp up my running again?

I think the answer to this question is to make better use of time generally, but also use up some of the dead time we all generally have, which for me means in the morning. The spin classes are already in the morning, so no change there, just need to be motivated to get downtown by 6:45am. The yoga is also not too bad – Sunday early evening is not a super-productive time, so filling it with 60 to 90 mins of yoga seems like a good idea.

Beyond that, for me at least, it means more early mornings. And that in turn means more early nights. Getting into that habit is another story all together.

So – what are your cross-training favorites? What do you do to stay fit and motivated when recovering from injury?

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