Early work hours, a mild stomach virus, and the Super Bowl on Sunday all conspired to make my regularly scheduled Monday post very late.
That’s okay though, sometimes it is good to let go of a schedule and mix things up a bit. At least that is what I’m telling myself now after an intense evening of spin class on Monday evening, once I was certain my body felt better and I downed plenty of fluids throughout the day.
The spin class was my second. The first took place last Thursday. I must admit at how shocked I was at the exertion and soreness that followed the hour long class at my local gym.
When Jeff Horowitz wrote “cycling primarily works the quadriceps, a big muscle group that running doesn’t effectively work,” in Smart Marathon Training: Which Kinds Of Cross-Training Are Best For Runners? he wasn’t kidding. That quad soreness wasn’t made easier by the long, hilly run I ran Friday in my neighborhood.
Beyond the muscle soreness and slight whining, I have to admit the spin class put a certain spring back into my step. The benefits of cycling-as-cross-training make sense, and is something I wish I engaged in earlier. According to Horowitz, cycling increases outer hip strength and may prevent IT Band flair up, something many runners, myself included, are familiar with. Spinning is also non-impact, meaning I’m not beating my legs up more than I already do while running.
Some studies according to Active.com even show cycling might increase speed for runners.
In the past I swam on down days on the group training schedule. I never quite felt the benefit of swimming in terms of complimenting my running. So, we’ll see if cycling becomes my new, second favorite sport.
The only real danger I can think of is wanting to get one of those really nice bicycles so I can head outdoors and cycle with friends.
Do you cross train? What do you do? How do you work it into your schedule? Have you seen benefits?