Photo by bvanatkova on Pinterest.
Did you know your Achilles tendon makes a loud popping noise when it’s torn? And then when you go to feel for it, there’s just a squishiness in the place where your tendon used to be? Me neither, until my friend texted me sharing her bad news earlier this week after a soccer session. One pop and you’re out for months! Just thinking about the tendon tearing gives me chills. I thought this was so strange, as just a couple weeks ago I benched myself from my own half marathon training due to a very inflamed Achilles tendon. Ankle injuries were taking us down one by one and I had to figure out how to put an end to this madness.
Sure enough, the advice seems to be unanimous amongst research journals - cross training is key to injury prevention. I know, I know, there’s the infamous debate between cardio and strength training, with lovers on both sides slandering the other. I can hear the ugh’s from across the screen. I mean, cardio slander is alive and well within the content I consume. I actually internalized it when I started lifting a couple years ago, because why get on the treadmill when you can just…go home. I’ll admit I loved running when I was younger and then I saw a bunch of TikTok’s about the NYC marathon and decided that’s enough - I’m going to challenge myself and to do something I could not even fathom completing at the moment I promised this to myself: I was going to run a half marathon. Running is cool, fun, and beneficial when done safely. As the article title and that little girl in the popular commercial about taco shells suggests, why not both? You can incorporate both strength training and cardio to become the best athletic version of yourself (bonus, if you’re consistent with your mobility and flexibility training).
So what exactly is cross training you ask? Google defines it as “athletic training in sports other than the athlete's usual sport.” The goal is improving overall performance, as it takes advantage of the particular effectiveness of one training method to negate the shortcomings of another. Let’s go through four benefits of cross training and how you can incorporate this into your existing programs seamlessly.
At this point you’re probably wondering how you can incorporate these amazing concepts into your current programs, and of course this is going to look different based on your preferences and lifestyle. However, I would like to emphasize that there are ways to make this accessible (free, efficient, and for all levels of mobility) to anyone who desires to follow this sort of training plan.
All effective fitness programs have three components:
- Aerobic exercises (stair climbing, walking, skating) improve cardiovascular capabilities.
- Strength training (weightlifting, HIIT, calisthenics) helps develop muscle strength and tone.
- Flexibility exercises (stretches, yoga, Pilates) help keep muscles loose and agile.
Here’s my current training split as an example. This could be inspiration for anyone that would like to focus on endurance training (my half marathon training). My other main goal right now is to hold a handstand.
- Right now, I’m determined to get my handstand, so I’m following @thedailyvictorian’s guide on Playbook. Otherwise, I stretch for about 20 minutes each night to help me wind down. Youtubers I enjoy are @yogawithnico, @yogawithadriene, @tanayoga (who all have hundreds of free videos and 30 day programs for beginners).
- I’m currently training for a half marathon so running is the bulk of my training. I'm using the Nike Run Club app which consists of 2 speed workouts, 2 recovery runs, 1 long run, and 2 rest days.
- Moderate strength training twice a week
- Personally, I’m focused on strengthening my core, back, and legs. Giving a little more attention to my lower legs since I was just injured.
I know I’ve said a lot, but the most important takeaway is always going to be to please listen to your body. What works for me isn’t going to work for everyone! At the end of the day, following how you feel is what will allow you to stay consistent and injury free. Rest if you need to! Take it a day at a time and know that we can just aim to be 1% better everyday. Happy training!
Till next time,
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