Cross Training & Core Strength

21 to 32 of 32 messages
11/12/2006 at 21:57
I'd advise going to pilates or a similar core/abs fitness class. I've been going since August and feel so much better for having really toned up my body and improved my stretching and flexibility.

I used to do circuit training but found that this was too detrimental for serious running training, so opted for the low-impact exercises instead.
11/12/2006 at 22:32
I recommend some weight training. You don't have to kill yourself, simply aim to keep the whole body toned. Since starting weight trainig myself, I find my running is more contlolled and I find it easier to Keep good form.
12/12/2006 at 10:21
Your upper body is getting tired when you run? Surely it's your upper body that needs strengthening as well?

It's a myth that you have to go to a gym to get strong. You can get strong at home with just bodyweight exercise.

I would actually say swimming yould be a good choice. Surely swimming with a decent style engages the core muscles? As well as, obviously, working the upper body.

First things first, as someone else said, get someone who knows what they're doing to check your running pattern for any obvious deficiencies.

Then for upper body/ core strength you could do things like crab walks/ bear crawls/ v-up's/ planks (should be able to get details on all of these via google). The plank in particular I think works the core muscles to the sides (serratus?) and may be very useful for running stability.

I've not tried pilates, but getting a good book on yoga and doing some poses at home may prove to be very beneficial.

I'd certainly give the high-rep crunches a miss. boring and you may end up shagging your back up.
12/12/2006 at 11:02
crab walks/ bear crawls/ v-up's/ planks...
..... all sound ominously like torture to me!! Why do they give them such scary sounding names?!

The coach at my club is happy enough with my running style - it's just a fatigue thing that hits when I do long distances - not a problem when I do under 15 miles or so, but I really noticed it when I did my last marathon. I've spent the last two years working in an office and developed progressively pants posture - the physio had to iron me out over the summer!

The Swiss-ball suggestions sound good - and I spend so much time at a computer it might be a good thing for me and help with the back/posture issues.

I'm investigating local Pilates classes - once I know my timetable for next term, I'm going to enrol. And I might see if I can get some more swimming lessons too. I only learned last spring and I still have that lovely 'drowning seal' style of crawl... and we won't talk about breaststroke...

I think I need the structure of pre-arranged classes to make myself do it. I'm very disciplined with the running, but (as you can tell!) not with the other fitness stuff. I'm in awe of you lot - doing all this stuff at home!

Hmm, food for thought.
12/12/2006 at 11:30
Be wary of breastroke, as it is very likely to have given me an ankle/ tendon problem, as other forumites highlight the the 'unnatural kicking' style for runners. I now only ungainly frontcrawl and the problem seems to have gone away.
12/12/2006 at 19:39
Rowing. But take a cushion unless your backside is sufficiently padded to start with.
14/12/2006 at 08:19
I learned the hard way that it is essential to do cross training to maintain running capability. I ran a lot thru the period 1985 - 2000. I was racing once per month at various distances up to half marathon, I was running 40+ miles per week. I joined a running club in 96 and trained harder, improving my race times considerably. London Marathons in 96 and 97. Off road long distance runs with club friends, cross country races thru the winter.
You get the picture I am sure! Anyway, all I did was run, run and run (oh and a little cycling). No other type of training at all.
I would get what I considered to be niggly injuries from time to time and generally i would 'run thru' these. By 2000 I was in a very bad way, with back and leg problems that just would not go away. Eventually I stopped running altogether, something every runner dreads.
In 2003 I discovered the Gym. A nice small health club with a very mixed membership. I have been going now for 3 years. 2-3 times per week. I use the CV machines for about 60 mins and the resistance machines for around 30-45 mins. This has helped me to build up strength in my upper body as well as improve my CV system.
This year I have re-started running and am pleased to say that I have not triggered my old injuries. I run 3 times per week, 2 x 50 mins and 1 x 70 mins.
I am convinced that I should have been doing some strength work all those years that I was running, then I probably would not have had to stop running altogether. Gym work is now part of my exercise regime. I enjoy it, maybe not as much as running, but I enjoy it all the same.
14/12/2006 at 09:13
Hullo John,
Glad you are getting over your injury - must be so frustrating though! I will take your advice though, and investigate the gym. I am very lucky and live practically next-door to a leisure centre, and since I'm a student - it is only peanuts to use it (admittedly, I'm running short of peanuts at the mo... but that's a whole other issue!).

I have made a modicum of progress - in that I have purchased a delightfully ugly coloured gym ball to use at home. I had physio over the summer for a back problem (my old job entailed too much sitting in the office frantically typing) who used one a lot - so I have a head start with the exercises. I'd forgotten how hard they are though!

Gym or swimming is now on the schedule for after the Christmas break. I'm strangely looking forward to it, as I know it will help my running.
14/12/2006 at 11:11

I started a Pilates class earlier this year and thought it was really helpful for running / posture etc. I couldn't keep going though because of babysitting issues, and now I would have to forego my club run each week to go.

Has anyone tried doing pilates or yoga at home from a DVD as a complete beginner? Is this safe? Any good recommendations?

14/12/2006 at 11:34

I own 2 Pilates DVDs. The MTV Pilates one is pretty good, and every "exercise" is explained at a variety of levels so you dont "grow out of it" too quickly.

Personally, I think that as long as you've been to Pilates classes and had some personal teaching, doing it at home is ok. I wouldnt encourage anyone who's never done it before to do that, as they might be doing something wrong, and hurt themselves. But I dont see why you shouldnt give it a go in the comfort (and convenience!) of your living room!
17/12/2006 at 15:03
I enquired at my gym about Pilates classes and they're starting a new one in January - unfortuantly at the time I work.....
Most of the useful classes seem to be in the evenings and doing shift work means I can never make them.

I do a bit of cross training usually on Tuesdays - just some elliptical work of up to an hour (sometimes abs and suchlike although running seems to help with that a bit). Started doing more lunges etc after runs too as my usual basic stretches aren't probably helping a lot in the long run.

If I tried Yoga at home, I'd be in A&E a few minutes later I bet!
17/12/2006 at 15:55
This months Mens Health Magazine has a free book about training at home its worth a read and at £3.50 cheaper than joining a Gym

As for cross training Arthur Lydiard the great NZ coach said and I quote as accurately as I can remember "no amount of cycling swimming weights etc will make you a better runner....only running further and faster will make you a better runner"

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