When I first started running, I didn’t really do any other forms of “exercise.” I was generally active – taking dance classes, walking whenever possible, and doing the occasional push-up. But other than running a few days a week, I didn’t give much thought to training my body in other ways.
As my running progressed, I worked up to running 5-7 days a week. While I enjoyed running daily, my body slowly began to revolt. My knees hurt and needed constant icing. I had nagging pain in my hips, which forced me to cut runs short. Even my back started to bother me, aching when I was sitting or trying to sleep.
At 27, I was not ready to be in constant pain – so I made an appointment with a physical therapist. He changed the shoes I was wearing and worked on my running gait. But his main advice was that I cut down the number of days I was running and add other activities into my routine.
Taking his advice turned my running around. Despite running less often, I have managed to get faster and am in training for my first marathon. While I still get sore from running (20mi will do that), the pain I was having before has subsided.
Now I typically run no more than 4 days a week and try to take 1 day completely off from any intense activity. On my non-running days, I incorporate a variety of other activities to supplement my training.
Stayed tuned for Part 2, I’ll tell you what my favorite cross-training activities are!
Do you incorporate cross-training into you schedule?