Tip of the Week

The Forum for Endurance Athletes

Tip of the Week

Postby natellerandi » Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:10 pm

Off-season cross-training. The more I do it, the more beneficial I am convinced it is. Beginning this fall, I started running again after a handful of years away. My first 20-minute run was torture - I thought my hip joints were going to punch through my pelvis. Fast forward to Christmas Eve and I completed a 2:15 trail run, where I ran 90% of it and hiked the rest (when the terrain got to rocky or too steep to run). I've also done some hikes in the 3-3.5-hour range. And plan to do many more until the Spring. I am currently running and hiking 3-4 days/week, anywhere from 30min to multiple hours at a time.

The reasons are myriad:
* Bone density. Cycling does not promote stronger bones due to the lack of pounding. Surprisingly, cyclists have worse bone density that swimmers because the latter athletes rely on intensive weight lifting whereas the former athletes tend not to. The hiking/running is increasing my bone density.
* Joints and connective tissue. Especially going up and down steep inclines is wonderful for the knees and surrounding connective tissue. The "hardening" as I call it, just doesn't occur on the bike. The stronger the joints and connective tissue, the slower I'll break down in the latter stages of a tough race.
* Refreshing. Doing something different is always refreshing. If I'm refreshed coming out of the winter because I'm cycling indoors less and not freezing my rear off on weekend rides, then I should be able to better focus and better push myself come the race season.
* Gains in fitness. I'm doing almost 100% of my above-aerobic hard work off the bike. Yet, I'm making progress on the bike. How cool is that?
* Experiencing my surroundings. I've gone on 3 consecutive hikes which I've never done before despite having lived in Boulder County for nearly 20 years. That's pretty sad. The sense of adventure and newness is awesome, and not something I want to let slip away.

So, there you have it. My suggestion is that if you have an activity or two that you enjoy, then find a way to incorporate it/them into your routine. If your fear is that by doing so you will be compromising your fitness in your primary sport of focus, my guess is that you will be pleasantly surprised that this won't be the case. In fact, there could very well be benefits from the other activities which you are not currently realizing, and those benefits could directly and positively impact the success of your 2011 racing season.

Happy Training and Happy Holidays!
Nate Llerandi
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:44 am

Return to Endurance Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest