I have been injured more times than I would like to admit. Truth be told… I wouldn’t even be able to count the number of times I have had to take the dreaded 6-8 weeks off due to injury. I know that sounds horrible. Looking back, it all started after I had my first injury. In 2006, I tore my rectus femoris tendon at its origin, the anterior inferior iliac spine (hip area). After this injury is was a domino effect of injuries. All of which have been isolated to my right lower leg. Ranging from torn muscles to stress fractures to other weird stuff I can’t even recall. Obviously it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that something biomechanically must not be working properly. The downfall is everyone has their own opinion on which biomechanical factors are impaired or malfunctioning. It may sound depressing and frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, it totally has been; the past 12 years have been full of ups and downs. But at least I can still run, it may not be everyday, but it’s enough to be slowly chipping away towards my goals.…
What’s that saying… “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
With all that being said, injuries and hiccups are part of running. In the off-season, during injuries and even within normal training I like to incorporate many different forms of cross training. Below you will find different workout ideas, and keep in mind all ideas can be done on any machine, not just what is specified.
This can be a great tool, however, you want to mimic running, so first and foremost, do not be afraid to get sweaty.
Mile repeats: I love longer intervals on the elliptical or bike. The key to doing mile repeats on the elliptical is to go off of effort and time. For example, on the road one workout I would run would consist of:
Warm up 10-20 minutes 5×1 mile repeats at 6:00 pace with 90 seconds recovery.
These repeats would be a tempo effort due to the limited amount of rest. I can basically do this exact workout on any machine, I prefer the elliptical,-
Basically just set a timer on your watch or phone. Instead of an actual mile you will elliptical at a tempo paced effort for 6-8 minutes followed by 90 seconds of active recovery. Repeat 3-6 times depending on fitness.
Cool down 10-20 minutes
I call this one the Kieffer Workout. This is because I saw Allie Kieffer complete a similar workout in the pool aqua jogging. This particular workout I like to do when I am short on time and I like to do it on the elliptical or in the pool (aqua jogging).
Warm up: 10-20 minutes
20x (45seconds hard/15 seconds easy)
Your heart rate should be up. This workout should feel like 20 minutes of real work. There is not much time to recover, so you will get sweaty
Cool down 10-20 minutes
THE SPIN BIKE:
I love this cross training tool because it can really help a runner with their leg turnover and speed. Especially when you are injured, it is a great way to keep those legs turning over.
Take a spin class: This is the easiest way to go about spinning. You will have a teacher/coach directing you for the full 45-90 minute class. Classes range from all different times and themes. Some teachers like hills others like sprint. So take classes from different instructors to get a wide range of fitness.
Tabata: This one is a fun one:
Warm up 10-20 minutes
4-6 sets 20 seconds hard/10 easy. Between each set spin lightly for 2 minutes before you move on to the next set.
Once again, this is another workout you can do if you are short on time. It is also important as your body warms up to increase the resistance.
Cool down 10-20 minutes
Typically, I prefer to aqua jog but swimming laps is also a great form of recovery especially if you are not a super great swimmer. I believe the water acts as a form of therapy.
Aqua jog: I recommend using the aqua jogging belt. As you get stronger you can remove the belt, however, the belt does help you keep better form.
Warm up 10 -20 minutes aqua jog
I prefer to keep the workout moving and changing constantly in the pool. You can go back to the elliptical and try the Kieffer workout in the pool or another fun one is the 1/2/3/2/1:
To complete this workout you can do anywhere between 1-4 sets of this workout. Basically the 1/2/3/2/1 are the minutes you go hard. Between each interval you aqua jog easily for 1 minute. Then between each set you aqua jog lightly for 3 minutes.
Cool down 10 -20 minutes of easy aqua jog. Just focus on your form!
Laps: When I swim laps I concentrate on swimming one mile first, then I will alternate every 10 minutes between different strokes/ and kick board. The goal for me is to get in 90 minutes. But if you are not a swimmer start small. 30 minutes is all you need.
THE ROWER: Oh boy do I love the rowing machine!!!
I will usually warm up and cool down doing something else, like a brisk walk on the treadmill or a light elliptical for 15 minutes.
1k repeats: I love this workout.
Row hard and focus on your strokes per minute. This number is important to keep consistent. Also it is super important to push with your legs first and pull with the arms once the legs are extended.
Do anywhere between 3-6 1k repeats. Rest should be half the time it took you to row the kilometer. Example: it took 4:30 to tow 1km, then the rest should be roughly 2-2:30.
Cool down, a brisk walk on the treadmill or a light elliptical for 15 minutes.
The 5k Row: If you are looking for something different just hop on a rowing machine for 5k. It will work your muscles differently and a variety will help keep you injury free.
Its alot, but these are my favorite workouts. Having hte variety keeps beeing injured more fun. You can rotate each day between the various cross training tools. You will get stronger in more ways than one which will only help you in the long run!
Let me know in the comments if you try any of these workouts or if you have a favorite.
Have fun cross training!