Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Balance

One of the bad things that walkers and runners do is way to much of their training as just running or walking. The problem with that is balance. Especially when training for a long distance event. I know plenty of runners and walkers who do no other forms of exercise at all.

One of the most famous coaches in the sport of race walking says the you should do the majority of your training time walking, but not all your time. The next most important thing for you to do is flexibility exercise. And even he will tell you that before he walks he does a routine of leg swings and other dynamic motion, then a stretching routine after.

The next most important thing is to do some type of cross training that complements your primary sport. For distance runners, doing speed drills, hill repeats and stairs are excellent cross training. For walkers, hiking, running and stairs will complement very well. In addition to a cross training that complements you also need to do activities that work the muscles that are not directly used in running and walking.

Riding a bike is great but doesn't give you much of an upper body workout. Activities like swimming, Pilate's and weight training are of course great ways to hit the muscles not used in walking and running but there are a lot of others also. Playing a sport that uses your whole body is the best for overall conditioning but most of us don't have access to a soccer team to play on or a water polo team. So we have to find ways to improvise.

One of the best all over training activities is trail running/walking on rough terrain. Great for balance and strength building. No contact sparing with a partner is an intense workout that uses your whole body. That's why boxing and martial arts have breaks between rounds, 3 min of sparing will leave you more spent than a hard 5 miler. Try it. But remember wear the gloves and no contact.

What ever your sport, if you strengthen all the supporting muscles as well as the primary ones you will do your sport much better, be much less injury prone and a better all around athlete.

Thanks for reading.

Cross training Panda

1 comment:

anurseslove said...

I think walking/running is going to be my cross training for karate! Along with my quality time with my husband. He wants to do disney's half in '10, I want to get my black belt in '12! I'll have to be able to complete a grueling 5k in 30 minutes by then...think I can do it?