With my #31in31in31 challenge complete, I started February with a new intention – to gain some much-needed strength. After spending all of 2014 focused on marathon training, the muscles that make me run close to an 8 min/mile for 26.2 miles are in pretty descent shape, but the rest of me isn’t quite as strong. While I did add strength throughout the year in the form of Club Pilates (1-2x/week) and P90X3 (3-4x a week for 2 months or so), I never really pushed myself as hard as usual, wanting to save myself for the next big run. That’s particularly the case when it comes to leg workouts. Sometimes I’d go to a lunchtime Club Pilates class after having run 10 miles that morning and there was no way I was going to be able to hold the squats and lunges as long as usual.
So in February I bought a Club Pilates package and was also approached by a few companies to try classes for free, which has worked out quite nicely! I’ve been able to get at least 3 strength training classes in a week and I’m already feeling the benefits. I’m still training for a half marathon – the Zion Half, which is in 4 weeks (March 14th), but I simply plan to finish the race and therefore have no time goals. My focus, for now, is strength!
Besides Club Pilates, I also tried a 1 hour triathlon-specific strength workout at Rehab United, a San Diego physical therapy and personal training facility. I’ve been to RU before for various reasons, but had never tried the class. I went with my friend Brooke, who has recently decided to sign up for her 2nd Ironman this year. After a cardio-focused warm-up, the workout was a circuit with 7-8 stations. We were to pair up and complete the workout at each station for a full minute, with 30 seconds to switch to the next workout. We then repeated 2x, with some variation to most of the stations. This class kicked my butt! We did things like planks with our legs on a rolling cart, squat and ball throws with 15-20 lb medicine balls, box jumps, lunges with a shoulder press, pull-ups/push-ups, and various core moves with a medicine ball. I was sore for 2 days afterward! I will definitely be going back with Brooke.
I also was offered a chance to try a spin class called The Rush through a promotion by Class Pass. I invited Asia as my guest and we enjoyed 45 minutes of heart-pumping, endorphin producing spinning while jamming to loud, energizing music. The class is synchronized with the beat of each song so you are almost dancing to the music the entire time. I had some issues with coordination at times, but overall it was really fun! You definitely will forget your worries during this class because you pretty much can’t focus on anything but trying to keep up with the moves.
On Saturday Mike and I went on a Valentine’s Day hike to the top of Black Mountain. It was fairly short hike (4 miles or so in total) but pretty much all up hill or downhill. We started a bit late so it was really hot (heat wave in San Diego – in the 80s on Saturday!!!) so I was glad it was a short hike. It definitely inspired me to get out on the trails more often!
On Sunday afternoon after my long run that morning, I took my first class as part of my new membership with Fitn (more on this soon!). Asia and I attended a Deep Stretch class at Yoga Six on Sunday afternoon. It was absolutely amazing. I left the class floating on air – I was so relaxed. This was a warm heated class so instead of being sweltering like some of the hot yoga classes, it was simply sleep-inducing. I didn’t mind holding the stretches for as long as we did because I was literally drifting off. I’ll be heading back to this one again!
What is your favorite way to cross-train or strength-train in the off-season?