If you read any running magazine, you’ll hear the term ‘cross training’ at least once or twice per issue. But it isn’t just doing innumerable sit ups or weights, which, at least to me, can get old really fast no matter how nice the music is. There are so many other sports you can incorporate into your fitness routine, and better yet, fun weekending plans. If it’s hot and you’re a swimmer, hit the pool, or if you’re a hiker who loves leaf viewing in the fall, grab those hiking boots and hit the trails. Or, if you’re like me and happen to have a brand spanking new kayak, head down to the river and get paddling.
And that’s what I did not once, but twice in the one day I had on the river before being packed up and reminded that, oh yes, I do happen to have a job and responsibilities…and laundry. For having been out of it most of last week (too busy and distant to hit the gym to train and too zonked at the end of the day to want to bother), it was a wonderful change of pace and really helped me fall back into my fitness groove, it seems, for the rest of the week.
For instance, I was concerned with speedwork for most of the past four or five weeks, as well as outdoor training, as a prep for the 5k race in July. The thermometer here in Maryland is already regularly soaring and I’m still the cool-weather-loving chick who’ll wilt at the very idea of sunshine. But for all that I achieved a bunch, like beating my personal best to get to a 9.12 minute mile, losing five pounds of unnecessary weight, gaining a lot more in muscle, and running outside without collapsing, my endurance tanked, and getting to only two miles was a trial each and every time I got on the treadmill. Running wasn’t enjoyable; it was work, and that wasn’t what I was doing this for. The goal for the race was and still is to simply get through it, to start and finish and do as well as I could despite less than ideal conditions, not to beat a certain time or make a personal best. This is the first race, after all, and the only competition I was identifying was against my unmitigated laziness that was still telling me to get back on the couch.
So I took today easy and aimed not for a best time, not even a good time, but just to get from mile 0 to mile 4 and stop only because I wanted to, not because I needed to. So as the best marathoners will tell you, I started at a pace that felt, after weeks of running full out, insanely slow, and kept it slow. And you know what? I made the four miles with a smile and probably could have kept going to five without a problem. So I’ll pat myself on the back tonight and couch surf it with Game of Thrones and call it a good job.
Next week I’m aiming for five miles at an easy pace.