Cross-Training in the Winter
Sometimes it’s okay not to run
by Coach Jenni Nettik
It’s winter, that means the conditions outside can be less than ideal for running. Training for a spring race can feel challenging when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Don’t stress, use the winter conditions to sprinkle a little cross-training into your routine. Many runners are resistant to cross-training, but mixing-up training has several benefits.
Benefits of Cross-Training:
1. Variety is the Spice of Life!
Training all winter for a spring race can feel long and monotonous! Mixing-up training keeps things interesting. If you find yourself struggling to getting out the door for your usual run, try swapping out an easy run for a class at the gym, a spin session, or snowshoeing. Cross-training adds flexibility to your training schedule which may be exactly what you need to stay motivated.
2. Stay Healthy.
Running is repetitive, it uses the same muscles in the same way, step after step, day after day. Many runners get injured because their bodies only have the strength and mobility to move forward. Cross-training often encourages movement in different directions or multiple planes. This winter when you start to notice a small ache or pain, head to the yoga studio, a bar class or the pool. Your body will thank you during your next run.
3. Safety First.
In the winter, the days are short and the nights are long. Running outside by yourself isn’t always safe. If you planned to run around the park with your friend, but she called at the last minute to tell you she has the flu. Use the unexpected opportunity to go to that strength training class you’ve been wanting to try. You’ll stay safe, and may even meet a few new workout buddies.
4. Snow Day!
Winter weather is unpredictable, sometimes there’s sunshine and blue skies, other mornings you wake-up and it’s a snow day! Don’t hold yourself hostage to your training plan, enjoy what the season dumps on you. A snow day is the perfect time to break out your cross-country skis and explore the city, head to mountains and hit the slopes, or hop on the fat bike trend and ride the trails. Remember how much you loved snow days as a kid (unless you’re from Montana, we didn’t have snow days)? Capture that joy!
Tips for successful cross-training:
How do you cross-train?
Stay on track with your fitness during the most wonderful time of the year!
by Coach Jenni Nettik
The holiday season is upon us, that means hectic schedules filled with holiday parties, big meals and travel. What can you do to maintain your fitness when time is limited? Remind yourself that exercise reduces stress–make it a priority. Here are few tips to help.
1. Do a Turkey Trot or Jingle Jog
My personal favorite is the Turkey Trot, I run in the morning and feel accomplished, and then enjoy a feast in the afternoon. It’s more of a Thanksgiving tradition for me than turkey. There are a million themed races, from pumpkin pie to Speedos, just choose one and have fun.
I usually encourage my runners to embrace rest, but sometimes rest is a little too easy during the holidays. Instead, try a running a streak. Run or walk a minimum of one mile everyday from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. Once you start a streak, you won’t want to stop. Even if you feel like you don’t have a single free minute, you’ll find a way to squeeze in a quick run or walk to keep your streak alive.
3. Rise & Shine
I’m not usually a morning runner, but the holidays are a little heavy with evening commitments. Let’s be honest, are you really going to skip that happy hour to run in the cold? No. That means the only time to run is early in the day. Make morning runs as painless as possible, don’t snooze and set out your gear the night before. Five minutes into the run, you’ll be glad you did!
4. See the light(s)!
One of my favorite things about this time of year are the holiday lights. Every city has a neighborhood or two that’s known for their holiday decorations. Plan a special route, even if you’re traveling, that takes a tour of the best neighborhoods. Who knows, maybe a few friends or family will want to join you on the festive route.
5. Run with a purpose.
Need to mail holiday cards? Want to grab a gift certificate at a local shop? Catching up with an old buddy over coffee? Don’t grab your car keys, lace up your running shoes and run to your destination instead. I use my hydration pack to carry all sorts of things besides water.
6. ‘Tis the season for treats!
Candy canes, fudge and Christmas cookies are all the more reason to maintain your running routine. After a run, treat yourself! Try taking a hot bath (my favorite), watching a cheesy holiday movie, or even enjoy one of those sweets waiting for you at home. The key is, run first, treat second (& of course moderation!).
7. Garland & Goals
The snow is falling and spring seems far away, but in terms of marathon training, it’s just around the corner. If you’re signed-up for a spring marathon, training kicks off during the holidays. When you’re trying to decide whether or not you really “need” to do that run, ask yourself why you run. Thinking about Boston gives me the little extra nudge I need to get out the door.
How do you stay motivated over the holidays?
Guest Blogger: Amanda Turner MS, Registered Dietitian at Active Fueling
Do you ever wonder what the optimum meal or snack is to have prior to an event? What about for training? Eating before a training workout or big event can help to improve your performance. The following tips will help you be adequately prepared:
1. Consider Timing
Eating before an event or hard training can be tricky. If you’re going to be doing high intensity or long endurance activities, try eating at least two hours before you start your workout. This allows plenty of time for digestion and will minimize your risk of GI distress. If your activity is more moderate or light in intensity, you may be able to eat closer to the activity without any concern.
As a general rule of thumb, the closer you get to your activity’s start time, the less you should be eating for optimal digestion pre-activity.
2. Meal/Snack Composition
A balanced meal with carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of fat is typically your best choice. Fat takes longer to digest, so it is good to keep it small prior to a long or intense activity bout (i.e. avoid that pizza!). Try the following snacks/meals before activity:
Oatmeal with fruit, lowfat milk, and a small amount of peanut butter
String cheese and banana
Sirloin and baked potato (light with the butter/sour cream)
Crackers and yogurt based dip
3. Type of Food or Beverage
Choose either liquid or solid foods based on your preference and past digestive history. If you have trouble with stomach cramping or nausea during workouts, liquid may be the best option (also consider eating earlier to leave more time for digestion pre-workout).
In general, lower fiber options are best so you don’t have more bulk in the stomach and intestines. Avoid beans, cruciferous veggies, most whole grains, and any other foods that have caused gas/cramping in your past experience.