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Wise Running

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run.

Tag Archives: crosstraining

Health and Exercise vs. Fitness and Training

There is a significant difference between concepts of health and fitness.  Health refers to the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being.  A healthy person tends to live longer and have a higher quality of life than an unhealthy person.  It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Exercise and healthy eating are two critical parts of being healthy.  Your sense of humor and your stress management techniques are also critical features of overall health.

sprintingFitness, on the other hand, is not about general health.  Fitness is about the level of fit that your body has in relationship to a specific task or set of tasks.  The measures of fitness for a baseball pitcher are quite different than the measures of fitness for an offensive lineman in football.  There will most certainly be overlap, but there is a big difference between extremely fit players in these contexts.  If you try to place a baseball pitcher on the offensive line, you are likely to end up with an injured pitcher.  He is fit for one task and not fit for the other.

Everyone should have the goal of being healthy.  As a runner, however, you want to make sure that you are fit for the task of meeting your running goals.  This requires all of the aspects of general health, but also includes running-specific measures of fitness:

  • How fast can you run a mile?
  • Are your core  and hip muscles strong enough to stabilize you during a run?
  • If you plan to run a marathon, have you practiced processing your calorie intake quickly and efficiently?
  • Can you maintain a certain pace for a certain distance?

The specifics of your goals will help you determine the measures of fitness that you should be tracking.  Your training should keep you healthy, but it should also move you towards measuring up to the specific fitness to the tasks set forth in your goals.  Accordingly, you can’t just exercise and expect to move towards your fitness goals.  Swimming is good cross-training, but will never replace specific training runs in moving towards your specific running goals.

Stay healthy.
Set goals.
Determine your level of fitness.
Train to improve your health and your fitness.

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Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!

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The Gift of Running,by P. Mark Taylor, is available in both paperback & e-book

Paperback Version – Amazon.com $9.00

Ebook Version – Kindle Store $2.99

Ebook Version for Nook $2.99

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What Counts as Cross-Training?

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Whether you’re a beginner runner or an experienced marathoner, you can benefit from cross-training.  Cross-training is any sport or exercise that supplements your running.  Cross training can add balance to your body by working muscles that do not get much attention through running.

What Counts as Cross-Training for Runners?

The most important aspect of cross-training for running is the cardiovascular workout.  Effective cross-training will maintain or improve your cardiovascular system while giving your legs a much needed rest from running.

Here are some great activities that can count as cross-training for running:

Cycling is an effective low-impact way to boost your cardiovascular fitness and strength, especially your quads and glutes. A long bike ride can be as relaxing as a long run, so many runners enjoy biking as their cross-training activity.

swimmingSwimming is a great cross-training activity for running because it gives your joints a break.  It allows you to build strength and endurance, and also improve flexibility.  It’s a great balance for running because you’ll really work your upper body, while giving your leg muscles a much needed break. Swimming is especially recommended for people who are prone to running injuries or are recovering from an injury.

Water running is a great alternative for injured runners or as a substitute for an easy running day. It’s also a smart way to get in your runs during hot and humid weather. While you can run in the water without flotation aids (vests, belts, etc), you’ll find the workout to be easier with them.

Rowing – An excellent cardiovascular, low-impact activity, rowing strengthens the hips, buttocks, and upper body. As with all activities, it is important to make sure you use proper technique to maximize the benefits of this activity and avoid injury.

The bottom line:  If you need a break, take a break.  If you want to give your joints a break without taking a break, choose a cross-training activity that will keep your heart rate up for the length of time that you would normally be running.  Whatever you pick, make sure you enjoy it.

 

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

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Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & future runners  Wise Running Book COVER mockup

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Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

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