Cross-Training and Triathlon
Introducing a range of training routines into your running will help keep your regime fresh. Alternatively, you could always opt for taking the cross-training route. Take, for example, the demands of the triathlon, where running is supplemented by tests in both the swimming pool and on the bike. Not only will you being putting more muscle groups to the test, but you’ll still be gaining the cardiovascular benefits but without the potential monotony of relying on pounding the pavements over one particular distance.
Cross-training can involve other workouts, too, such as circuits with weights, or one or more classes booked in a gym, from high-intensity sessions such as BodyPump to the more gentle, holistic pursuits such as Yoga and Pilates.
Time can be a major factor in deciding which new disciplines you add to your exercise regime. For example, sessions on two wheels can be easily built into a daily routine by cycling to work instead of taking the bus or train. Always remember when riding to wear the appropriate safety gear, maintain your bike at regular intervals and be aware what is happening around you, especially if your route brings you into close contact with road traffic.
Swimming is another daytime alternative. Find a pool close to work and build one or two lunchtime lane sessions into your week. Pool work is a great form of exercise because the water supports the body. This means that muscles and joints suffer less stress and impact than they would experience during the course of the equivalent workout running on the road.
Holistic sessions can also be used to fill a lunchtime or two, and will have the added benefit of breaking up the working day and promoting a more relaxed approach to the demands of the office routine. Don’t underestimate, either, the social aspects of working out as part of a class and the mutual support that can be invaluable when self-motivation suffers the occasional dip.
It is a good idea if you decide to join a gym to book a session with a personal trainer and explain what you want from your membership. They should be able to identify useful circuits and classes that will not only add variety but be beneficial to your running.
Fun and Competitive Events
Should you decide to restrict yourself to the triathletic mix of swimming, cycling and running, there are plenty of opportunities to enter both fun and competitive events via joining one of the many clubs that can be found across the United Kingdom. You will find that they not only cater for those who take the sport very seriously but also more casual participants. Both seniors and juniors are likely to be catered for, too, so it is a great way to get the whole family involved. For initial club contacts and further general information, visit the British Triathlon site (http://www.britishtriathlon.org).
The intensity of your cross-training routine will depend upon what your goals are. But whatever level you are aiming to achieve, keep the accent on enjoyment rather than putting undue pressure on yourself to perform. That way, it is more likely that you will achieve those goals.