GREG COMBS: Running Great Exercise for Cross Training
More than 700 people participated in the 2008 Turkey Trot hosted by FirstHealth of Pinehurst this past weekend.
The below-normal temperatures did not seem to have a negative impact on folks participating in the event. However, I would like to thank the kind volunteers for braving the cold weather and taking the time to support their community. I knew I would see many of my friends from the Sandhills Sand Spurs Triathlon Club since running is a key component of triathlons, but I was surprised to see how many local cyclists participated in 5K, 10K, and even the half marathon. I asked a few of my "two-wheeled" athlete friends about their training for the Turkey Trot and they indicated it was just a form of cross training for them.
I recently read an article regarding cross training by David Fiedler who writes about cycling for About.com. Fiedler wrote, "Cross-training means using other activities and exercises to enhance aspects of your physiology that your main workout doesn't hit. Cross-training offers a number of benefits including injury prevention, burning calories, increasing endurance and simple rejuvenation from the joy you may experience in taking part in something new."
"Running is a lower-body exercise that works many of the same muscle groups as cycling, so it is a great enhancement to existing leg strength. However, at the same time, running also develops to some degree the upper-body muscle groups that get ignored for the most part when you're busy pushing pedals on the bike, such as the upper back, upper arm and shoulder muscle groups. For me, running is a much more physically demanding exercise in terms of cardiovascular output. Because of this, you can use running to enhance your endurance and ability to keep your wind on the bike. Last year I ran a half-marathon in the spring and another in the fall. It was amazing to me how much stronger I became on the bike as my training mileage increased, and vice-versa," said Fiedler.
There are many ways cross training might help you. However, Fiedler reports two primary areas that running may help the avid cyclist:
(1) Improved leanness: Doing some cross training can help you burn more calories per week. For example, cyclists who maintain their usual training schedules and add one 30-minute running workout per week can lose one extra pound of fat every 10 weeks, provided they don't increase their food intake.
(2) Greater average workout intensity: A cyclist who is already completing two intense workouts per week can add an intense running session without increasing the risk of overtraining or getting injured. This upswing in intensity can do two great things: it can make the heart a bigger, stronger pump, and it can hoist blood volume.
Since running is not appealing to everyone, Fielder recommends trying one of the following activities for cross training.
Aquarunning is very simple. You slip into a life preserver and run in place in the water. It can help your cardiovascular fitness without the impact of running on the trails and road.
Stair climbing is great for the quadriceps muscles and aerobic capacity and is a low impact activity as well. Another form of low impact activity is walking.
To see a list of Turkey Trot participants and their times, go to www.setupevents.com.
Diane Innes of Aberdeen and Elizabeth Mueller of Southern Pines walked the entire half marathon in a respectable 2 hours and 47 minutes.
Greg Combs is a coach, cyclist and triathlete and expert in bicycling fitting/rider positioning. For more information browse: www.velosmart.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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