Fun cross-training

When I was training for my first half-marathon, as soon as I got over the “running-is-really-hard, why-would-anyone-do-this-voluntarily” hump, I was convinced that running as much as possible would make you faster and stronger. So I kind of skimped on my cross-training, didn’t really strength train, skipped stretching, and ran on days that I wasn’t supposed to run on (according to the training plan I was following). I really enjoyed it in the beginning, and felt like a superstar runner. And then I ended up with ITBS (not to be confused with IBS…although WHY didn’t anyone tell me about the runner’s runs before I did my first race?!), and couldn’t run without pain for more than a year.

Needless to say, I was frustrated with myself for not listening to the articles I read and to the runners who told me that cross-training, strength-training, and stretching are imperative for a balanced body. People, I don’t think you understand.

I think for a lot of people, the words “cross-training” and “fun” usually aren’t in the same sentence unless “isn’t” sits in the middle. The problem is, “cross-training” is often synonymous with “ellipticizing”. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had a lengthy affair with the elliptical and it’s one of my favorite machines to zone out on. But man…it can get boring.

Here’s the best part – I went ahead and already MADE the mistake of not cross-training for ALL of us! So we can all learn from my mistake instead of you making it yourself. You’re welcome.

The lesson: find ways to cross-train that are fun for you! Step outside your comfort zone by going to a dance class. Make it social by joining a kickball team with your friends. Strive to learn something that makes you really cool at the club (like being able to breakdance. Oh…is that not cool in the club?…)

All of this leads me to my workout for today, which was taking a tumbling class! For the past two months or so, I’ve been going once a week to a one-hour tumbling class at a local gymnastics facility. There a few great things about this:

  1. I am working towards being able to do a standing back tuck (back flip), which is one of my life goals
  2. Being the oldest tumbler in the gym by at least 10 years, I get an automatic ego boost at least once a week (I just ignore the 12-year-olds that do much harder tricks than I can do)
  3. I am pushed outside my comfort zone, physically and mentally, and feel accomplished when I see progress
  4. It’s FUN!

Right now, I am really enjoying taking these classes. But if and when I grow tired of them (or crack my skull in half), I will move onto another type of activity that seems just as fun.

Moral of the story, kids: “fun cross-training” is not an oxymoron, but “breakdancing in the club” is.

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