The training plan for my half marathon involves 2 days a week of cross-training. On one of those days, I spin. Spinning rocks because it is a great non-impact, high-intensity workout. If you take Joan's class at the Y, you are definitely pushing your cardio to the max and improving your fitness. She rocks! The other day I try to make sure I do some serious weight-training. I weight train at least 3 times a week, but on my cross-training day, I try to really go hard core. Yesterday, I did a full-body workout but really focused on my legs, an area that needs some work on strengthening up. All the running, walking and spinning I do keeps my lower half very lean but I need work getting some more muscle down there. I think yesterday's workout has me on the right track since I've got some sore spots in my glutes and quads this morning. It's a good sore and nothing that today's run couldn't help loosen up. By the way, I'm getting faster... slowly but surely. This morning I clocked 5.57 miles in 45 min and 47 sec and felt great. Vero Beach Half marathon here I come :-) Anyways, back to the leg workout. Yesterday I did a combination of a couple of workouts I have found in various magazines. The combination of exercises was a nice one in my opinion. It definitely had my heart pumping and my muscles burning. I did 3 sets of the following exercises in a circuit which means I did one set of each exercise in order without resting and then repeated the series 2 times.
1. Single leg touchdown - (from Shape magazine) Holding a dumbbell in each hand at sides (I used 8 lb dumbbells), balance on right leg with left foot raised behind you. Extend left arm overhead with your palm facing forward. Squat on right leg as you reach your left hadn toward your foot. Rise back to the starting position and repeat. Do 12 reps, then switch legs to complete the set. This one really challenged my balance. I hope to improve and not have to regain my balance as often in the future. Slow, steady, and focused is the secret.
2. Bowling lunge (also from Shape magazine) - Stand holding a dmbbell in each had at sides with your palms facing behind you. Squat on your left leg as you step your right leg back and to the left. Lean forward from your hips and reach your weights toward your front foot. Rise and raise your right knee to hip height in front of you. Repeat with opposite leg. Do 10 reps with each leg.
3. Sumo Squat Jump (from Fitness magazine)- Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointing out like a plie. Squat, tapping the floor with your hands. From the squat, jump as high as you can, landing with feet together. Then, jump back out, landing back in the sumo squat position. Repeat 12 times.
4. Reverse lunge with bicep curl (from Shape magazine) - Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold dumbbells in your hands at your sides. Lunge straight back with 1 leg and lean forward over the other thigh, reaching weights toward the ground. Rise to the starting position and curl the weights toward your shoulders. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
5. Plie squat - Do plie squats on your toes, heels off the ground, holding dumbbells. (I used 15 lb dumbbells.)
After completing that circuit of 5 exercises 3 times. I did a push-up and squat ladder. To do this, I did one push-up, then 1 squat. Then 2 push-ups and 2 squats. Next 3 push-ups and 3 squats. I continued this pattern all the way up to 10 of each.
I finished it all off with some upper body super-sets, holding a plank as long as possible in between each super set. I paired up the exercises as follows, doing 3 sets of 12 with each super set:
1. Bent over rows paired with bench presses on a stability ball
2. Biceps curls paired with overhead triceps extensions
3. Overhead shoulder presses paired with lateral raises
It was a great workout. What do you like to do on your cross-training days? What keeps your running strong. I'd love to hear what works for you.