Friday, January 20, 2012

The Importance of Core Strength

In training for Baltimore, the one thing I really lacked was the cross-training. I put a bunch of Nike Training workouts on my schedule but, in reality, the only thing that I did other than run was play frisbee and soccer. While both are great exercise, I would hardly call them cross training. This time around, that will change. I want to be in my best running shape by March 17 but I also want to be in the best possible overall shape by June when I set out to ride my bike 3,000 miles. It is important to continue running but I know that I also need to avoid too much heavy-impact activity to keep my knees and ankles strong for this summer.

Sweaty knees and ankles. Stay strong.

My current schedule is fairly vague with the cross training (XT) days but here is how I imagine them going: bike 45-60 minutes, do 15-30 minutes of core training or strength training. Or go to yoga or a kettle ball/strength training class at Stroga. Next week, when I get my new toy set up, the regular biking will officially begin.
Bike trainer!
This week, I had to resort exclusively to my Nike training app again. While I do love the workouts on this app, I find that they are just as high-impact as running and if I'm going to put that much stress on my knees, I'd rather just go for a run. But there is a special section called "Get Focused" with 15-minute workouts to target specific areas of the body. On Wednesday night, I did the ab burner and the back definer. According to Runner's World, a strong core will increase performance and help keep you injury free. Bring it on.
Each workout involves three five-minute repeats of these exercises.

The back isn't something that I ever think about working out. Which is crazy because it is so essential to everything I do. It is especially important, in cycling, to have a strong back and neck. So, at least at first, this back definer workout is something I'm going to do every week as part of my cross training.

Believe it or not, these weird things are actually making my back stronger. It has been mildly sore for the past 24 hours.

So here's to a stronger core and, hopefully, to improved fitness overall. It's nice to feel the burn in a place other than my legs for a change. You know I love to feel my muscles burn.

Tell me: How important is cross training to you? Do you have a favorite way of doing it?

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