I admit, when I started this post, I was struggling. Maybe it’s because keeping up a marathon-cross-training regimen is difficult, or maybe because it’s just impossible. How many marathoners PR after being injured? Are my goals unrealistic?
In another internet search (because google is my magic crystal ball), I found this article: “can’t run, can still train”. It made me feel a lot more positive. It also serves as a good slider for my recount of a workout I did today, to make up for the 8 x 800s I missed.
You can call me crazy, but I really love interval workouts. I love the anticipation as I head to the track, prepare my water bottle, and limber up. The warm-up laps and the dynamic stretches are like foreplay, and walking up to the starting line for the first interval always gets a spike of adrenaline going. Of course, the first interval is always easy, not quite max effort, but good time. Then, the challenge is to get through the recovery well enough to start the next one strong. I love to challenge myself to go faster each time, to see the miles add up without the same monotony of an easy or long run. I love the final interval where I know I don’t have any left, and I can give it everything I’ve got. Unfortunately, this is the third week I’ve missed my intervals.
but here’s what: I wrote some job applications and went to the gym. There, I changed into my workout clothes, saw I didn’t have my headphone (damnit!) and got on the elliptical machine. I did 1,6 km (that’s a mile) at moderate to high intensity to warm-up, and then I went to the spinning room- thankfully empty.
No one had used this spinner since the last time I was there, so I didn’t even need to adjust it. I opened my clock app and opened the stop-watch, started it, and spun easily for 90 sec.s. Then, I upped the intensity and went as fast as I could go… After about 1 minute, I upped the resistance, got out of the seat, and then also went as fast as I could go. I upped a little more and, got into sprint position and, you guessed it, went as fast as I could go. After 3.5 minutes of this fast stuff (and feeling my heart rate rise), I dropped the resistance and spun easily again. 90 seconds later, it was round two. I did this for 10 rounds and at the end of the tenth one, Skrillex “Bangarang” (seriously, that song makes me GO) came on my iPod that I was using as a mini stereo, so I did another 55 seconds to finish out the song. I got of the spinner, stretched out a bit, and then went back to the elliptical for a 1,6 km cool-down. My heart rate maxed out at 167, so I think I worked decently hard enough while spinning. The elliptical doesn’t replace running at all- but nothing really does. Feeling self-pity, I hopped on the treadmill for a bit… I made it 300 meters before deciding: no, not ready.
So, I don’t have my aqua belt on me, I don’t have an ellipti-go, and I sure as hell don’t have an alter-g treadmill. I couldn’t even afford the cheapest treadmill on the market. The one thing I do have, though, is a gym I can go to and they have elliptical machines and spinners. I can use both of these to try and get my game on. Next time, I’m bringing my heart rate monitor, so that I can make sure my HR goes above 160 for 67% of the workout.
The remaining challenge left to conquer is that cross-training usually has to be done for more time than the running would have been. Considering that marathon training is already an incredibly time-intensive activity, trying to replicate the training with cross-training activities is almost impossible. For example, Tuesday was long run day- 20 miles. My plan called for accomplishing that in 3 hours. If I follow the advice of 1.5 times the running time, I would have had to workout for 4.5 hours. Um… that’s not really an option- but maybe, if I’m not running-ready in time for my next 20 miler in two weeks, maybe I can make it an option. That’s dedication for you, I guess.
I could have titled this post “how to get through marathon training without running.” However, since I’m still trying to figure that out myself, I’ll just leave it at: I’m trying.