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Posts tagged ‘Cross Training’

Lolo and Meb: A Change of Pace

When I first started running marathons back in 2005, I remember thinking after my second marathon, I was going to take a break from running to do something different. I was going to get back into dancing. I took dance my entire life until I graduated high school and sometimes I miss it. Well I never ended up taking my dance classes and the only dancing I really did was Thursday night salsa dancing. Up until this past Saturday, I was having the same thoughts. I should do something different after the marathon. Well as most races do, Sunday got me excited to start running again. Monday I’m meeting with my coach and I’m more than excited. It doesn’t look like dance classes are in my future. Read more

D1 Sports Training

A few weeks ago I heard about this pretty awesome athletic training facility coming to Raleigh, NC. D1 Training, which has been around since 2002, will be opening a facility in Raleigh at the end of the month. When I checked out their website, I was quite impressed with the intense workouts and kick ass facility. Think a smaller version of a football stadium lined with weights, machines, and cardio equipment. Or just watch this video:

I signed up to learn more about D1, and a few days later Thomas called. He explained more about D1 and invited Mario and me to try out a class the next day. (Even though the facility isn’t open, the trainers are already meeting with some motivated members to work out.) At 6:00 am the following Thursday, Mario and I worked out with Austin. Well, I found new muscles that I never knew existed and five days later, they were still sore.

I thoroughly enjoyed the workout that morning. Sprints, jumps, shuffles, burpees, squats, abs, and only a few one to one and a half minute rest breaks – that’s right up my ally. But perhaps the thing I like most about D1 is that it is a comprehensive facility, suited for the middle school football player just as much as it is for the adult working 40+ hours a week. They have classes and trainers with the sole purpose of helping you become whatever it is you want to become. A high school track star? They do that. A better quarterback? Yep. Or maybe the fittest person you’ve ever been? They do that too. Not only do you get an phenomenal workout, but you also get a nutritionist, a physical therapist, an assessment every two months that analyzes your progress, and a team of people who will help you become your best athlete. Try getting all that with just a personal trainer.

I had some questions about D1 so I sent them to Thomas and he was kind enough to take the time and answer. Here are some other things worth knowing about D1:

  • D1 in Raleigh will open July 23rd at 6330 Mt. Herman Road
  • D1 is for anybody over the age of 7 and who wants to take their fitness to the next level
  • D1 can be described as a “great atmosphere, energetic, fun, and a total body workout. We will tap into muscles you didn’t know existed!” (That is a direct quote and I can assure you this is VERY true)
  • The coaches & trainers at D1 in Raleigh include 4 former college athletes, a Certified Strength Conditioning Specialist (C.S.CS), and a certified yoga and pre natal instructor

As I mentioned earlier, D1 was started in 2002. It currently has 17 facilities across the country, and you can see them all here. Their vision is to “treat and train their clients like they are an elite athlete: planned workouts, nutrition, injury prevention, rehab, and a team environment.” Each D1 location partners with orthopedic firms and pro athletes with ties to the area. The D1 location in Raleigh is co-owned by Phillip Rivers and David Thorton, both NFL football players formerly from the Triangle. Of course I had to ask if Phillip Rivers would be making an appearance. The last time I saw him was when I had front row seats to the 2003 Gator Bowl and NC State beat Notre Dame. If he’s back in the Raleigh area, I want to be there. Well, it turns out he has already been here for a training event in May and plans on coming back with David Thorton in the future. Sweet.

I’m really excited about D1. Raleigh has so many great young athletes and adults who want to be healthier, fitter people. This place can help bring out the best athlete in everyone. And D1 is certainly not your normal gym. It’s slightly on the cooler side. I mean, elite athletes on one side of the field while I’m working out on the other – where else do you get that?

Definitely check out their website if you get a chance, and here are some pictures of other facilities throughout the country:

Photos Courtesy of Thomas Evans

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


My Boston Marathon Cross Training Days

Last night I spent quite a bit of time working on my Boston Marathon training schedule.  Honestly, I’ve been pretty fortunate with my previous marathons.  I’ve generally followed a schedule that included long runs on Saturdays, a few runs during the week with a cross training day and a rest day.  Never have I really planned four months in advance.  However, this time I have a time goal that I know I’m going to have to really work at in order to achieve.  To avoid injury, I am mandating cross training days that will serve two purposes: 1) allow my legs to recover after speed workouts and 2) increase cardiovascular fitness.  Yes, cross training can help with recovery but it can be an ACTIVE form of recovery.  For me, biking and elliptical workouts should require just as much effort as a run.  The workout needs to have a purpose.

(page one of my training plan)

Certainly I do not know all things about the bike, elliptical, and stair climber, but due to the fact I’ve suffered a stress fracture and other hip aliments, I am quite familiar with how to get the most from 45 minutes on a machine.  They don’t call me Cardio Queen at the gym for nothing – I worked for that title. Anyway, today is one of my last cross training days before I start my marathon training on January 2, 2012 (and I will definitely still incorporate this workout on my non-running days).  It’s elliptical day and here’s how my last elliptical workout of 2011 will go:

Warm up: Jump rope for 2-3 minutes

  • The Interval Workout Program at a hard level
  • During the hard intervals, push it hard by going fast at a speed I can hold for a few minutes (depending on interval length)
  • During the recovery intervals, try to keep the same speed (but with lower resistance)
  • Continue alternating for 30 minutes
  • After 30 minutes, the last 10 minutes  at a medium resistance with medium a to fast speed (depending on energy level)

Cool Down: 5 minutes easy on the elliptical

And just for fun (or maybe torture?), I’m going to try this Ab workout.  I already tried a little bit of it and I didn’t like it very much.  It hurt.

And last but not least (and somewhat irrelevant), because it’s #RunningSongThursday, I’d like to share a few of my favorite workout songs in no particular order:
1) Eminem – Fast Lane
2) Eminem – Not Afraid
3) Eminem – ‘Til I Collapse
4) Rihanna – We Found Love
5) Pitbull – Give me Everything
6) Don Omar – Danza Kuduro (a little culture)
7) Justin Bieber – Never Say Never (only because it reminds me of The Next Karate Kid)
8 ) Jay-Z – Run This Town
9) Shakira – Waka Waka
10) Eminem – Crazy in Love
(Yes, I’m an Eminem fan)

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Cross Training on the Bike

I love my New Balance Minimus shoes so much that they actually make me forget to cross train.  I feel like I could run all day everyday in those shoes, but then I do something stupid (like switch shoes), and end up injured for a month or so.  So in preparation for the Boston Marathon in April, I’m taking every preventive measure possible to avoid injury.  This includes 16 Active Release Therapy sessions already scheduled, non-negotiable cross training days, and mandatory rest days.

Cross training has many times been my saving grace.  I get injured and it allows me to continue training.  Besides allowing for active recovery, cross training has many other benefits, and if done correctly, can help improve running times.  I mentioned in my last post, other than running intervals once a week, I do bike intervals to help with speed.  I’ve never actually gotten sick while exercising at a high intensity, although I’ve often tried (obviously not hard enough).  Anyway, bike intervals have often times brought me close to that point, and I do believe they have been quite effective in increasing my leg power. I’ll put on my Livestrong bracelet, start my Eminem playlist, and go at it.  Luckily, it’s a fairly short workout so if you can get through 30 minutes, you’re done. If you’re looking to incorporate more cross training and have access to a bike, I’d like to suggest this workout:

First, start some high energy music (it helps get you pumped up- I recommend Eminem “Fast Lane”)

  • Warm up for for five minutes
  • For the next five minutes, alternate one minute of high speed/high intensity (intensity level 6-7) intervals with one minute of high speed/low intensity intervals
  • For the next 20 minutes, alternate one minute with high speed/high intensity (intensity level 8-9) intervals with one minute of high speed/low intensity intervals

(As you get closer to the 30 minute mark, you might need to lower the speed of the recovery intervals to recover properly – your legs will be getting tired)

  • If you’re training for longer distances, you can ride out the next thirty minutes, alternating 5 minutes of hard, low speed intervals with easy, fast speed intervals

Call it a day when you’re done, stretch, and enjoy a recovery snack within 30 minutes of finishing your workout.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


HEAT – Highly Effective Athletic Training

About a year ago, a new sort of “gym” called HEAT opened up beside us.  HEAT stands for “Highly Effective Athletic Training,” and I’ve always had a desire to try a class.  The music is always pumping, people are sprinting while others are lifting weights, and the instructor is keeping everyone motivated with his intensity.  Well on Wednesday, I was finally able to attend a class (thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday and a day off work), and Robin gave me my first dose of Cardio Heat.  I loved every minute of it.

Our session started out on the RealRyder spin bikes.  If you’ve never seen one, please check them out – a visual will help you understand why they are great for HEAT.  Robin started us off with a brief warm up and then we got right to it.  When the music started we pedaled at our intensity 7, then we sprinted during the chorus, took it easy for a minute, increased the resistance, stood up, sat down, spun faster, raced (which is even faster), and then did it all over again.  It was awesome and the music made it so much better (Robin, please tell me where you get your music!). After 20 minutes on the bike, half of us went to the treadmill while the other half started to jump rope.  For the next 40 minutes we alternated between intervals on the treadmills, jumps, push ups, and abs.  From what I can remember (because some of it is a blur), we did the following:

  • Ran two minutes on the treadmill (not all out, but fast)
  • Jumped rope for 2 minutes
  • Ran 90 seconds on the treadmill, with 60 seconds of sprinting
  • Side lunges with a jump
  • Ran another 90 seconds of sprinting
  • Squat jumps
  • Increased the incline, and sprinted for 90 more seconds
  • Tuck jumps (these are HARD to do for 90 seconds straight)
  • Increased the incline to 10% and ran for 90 seconds
  • Mountain climbers with push ups
  • Ran faster on a 10% incline but with 10 seconds on and 10 seconds off
  • Abs (but fast)
  • 15% incline but no speed faster than 4.5mph
  • Ran 60 seconds all out sprinting

When we were done, I wasn’t 100% spent (which obviously meant I could have tried harder), but I was tired.  Robin gave us all high fives and my much underused muscles were definitely feeling it.

So what is so great about what they do at HEAT and how is it more effective than other traditional forms of exercise?

First, the RealRyder stationary bike.  This bike is not your normal stationary bike, and the first time I saw it, I thought “Wow, I’m going to fall right off.”  This bike simulates actual outdoor biking by allowing the rider to move side to side.  It allows you to use more muscle groups, which in turn, leads to a higher calorie burn.  According, to the RealRyder website, there is a 20% increase in calorie burn than with a traditional bike.  For me, one of the most difficult parts of our workout was trying to keep it steady and not moving from side to side.  I really had to engage my arms and my core to keep the bike centered, and they were sore the next day because of it.

Second, intervals on the treadmill.  Interval training involves alternating high intensity exercise with recovery periods and are a GREAT way to increase cardiovascular fitness.   Because you are exercising more vigorously, you will get a higher calorie burn.  Intervals force you to push your heart and muscles to the max.  Another benefit of this type of exercise is you help to avoid overuse injuries.  You are only doing the interval for a short period of time and aren’t pounding the pavement for hours on end, which can be very helpful to your knees, hips, and legs.

Third, jumps.  I’ve always loved jumps because they aren’t easy and they get your heart pumping.  Jumping, and in particular jumping rope, is great for the heart, strengthens the upper and lower body, and burns a lot of calories in a short period of time.  Jumping is beneficial to us runners because it improves agility and overall coordination.  They can also help strengthen your calf muscles, which will lead to you powering up your next Heartbreak Hill.

Clearly, we are runners and running is our sport of choice.  However, a class like Cardio Heat can be more effective than your next easy 3 miler, and if you’re looking for a way to mix up your routine, this is a great way to do it.  Your muscles are guaranteed to be sore the next day (or next two days as mine are), and by working new muscle groups and pushing yourself to new limits, your running will thank you.  HEAT has taken the interval approach to fitness, made it fun, and created an environment for fitness that allows everyone to be challenged.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,