Monday, August 27, 2012

A Little Cross Training Can't Hurt - Sort Of

So every now and then you need to take a break from the regular old bike ride then long run on the weekend. Sure those are great and make you stronger and tougher (I guess), but mentally they can get to be a little tedious. Plus inevitably you have a spouse or friend or group of people that just don't either want to do those things with you or else are at different speeds and endurance levels.

So what does this mean? Find a new thing to do. One that compliments your triathlon training goals but gives you a nice metal and physical break. One that may stress slightly different muscle groups. One that includes those others in your life.

So this past weekend I did just that. Saturday my wife and I went on a SCUBA / Snorkel trip out to Sandy Cove. I picked Sandy Cove as it was a great area for novice level shallow diving as my wife snorkels and I dive. Sandy Cove (at least where I was diving) stayed at a nice 30 feet deep max (10 meters or so). It offered great sea creatures to view and a cool reef.

This was a great break from swimming laps or lengths of a lake. Sure my arms did little to propel me along the bottom of the sea, but my legs sure got a great work out, and with flippers it is a slightly different workout than I would get in a pool. And an hour of SCUBA will certainly wear you out for the day.

Then on Sunday rather the the good old long run? Well how about a good old long hard hike. To the Bluff Trail we went!

My wife and I had done the first loop of the Bluff Trail in Timberlea, a few times and loved it. We finally decided to go for the first 2 loops, which meant a 15 km (from the car parking lot) hike on pretty rough terrain. The sun was hot, the clouds were few and a tiny chihuahua named Newt lead our way. Four hours later we were done. This included a few food stops and a  stop to soak our feet in one of the many lakes.

Sure this wasn't a hard or slow paced long run and I could go 15 kms without too much effort. But this was good old roots and stones and hills and trees and jumps and etc....This was a whole new set of stabilizer muscles put into good use. And those muscles help keep the injuries at bay as we get tired on our regular long runs and marathons.

Why did I add sort of to the title? Two blisters on my little toes means it hurt a little bit. But I will recover.

So I was tired physically and mentally after that weekend (yeah I threw in an easy 5 km run Saturday night for good measure). It was a good thing to do. Oh and if you have a dog, it means you get away without walking them for a day or 2 now. Newt is still sleeping this one off.
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