Some New Things I've Learned

9 Apr

I learned some new things during the recording of the most recent Runners Roundtable yesterday afternoon. The focus of the show was Cross Training with Ahmed Zacher and Sage Rountree as guests who specialize in triathlons and yoga respectively.

(Visit TalkShoe to listen to the RRT podcast or you can find them on iTunes as well.)

The first thing I learned is that I have been riding the bike all wrong as far as my cadence is concerned. I start off the first half mile in the 80 rpm range, then stay in the 90’s for the first couple of miles. Once I get into my groove I’m usually in the 100-115 rpm range. Yesterday I topped out at 120 rpm’s. It doesn’t matter what distance I ride, my average pace seems to be 21.6 mph. Last week one of my rides was 22 mph which is probably my fastest. According to Ahmed I should stay in the 80-90 rpm range. If I find that I am over that I need to kick it up a gear or two. So, that is exactly what I did this morning. Every time my rpm’s went over 95 I would increase the level. I found myself riding at much higher levels for a lot longer than I have to date, yet I ended up with, you guessed it, 21.6 mph. And it was a much better workout.

The second thing I learned is really not anything new, but more of a reiteration of something I knew already. Most runners don’t see the point in cross-training. There were a good number of folks in the chatroom who couldn’t understand why you would give up a run in order to bike instead. For me, the biggest asset that biking provides to me, as a runner, is that it allows me to get in a good workout while at the same time resting my running muscles. Plus it works my quads, the muscle group that often gets the least amount of focus unless you are running down a lot of hills.

I have a friend who has been urging me to do yoga for the past year. I’ve always thought of yoga as a formalized type of stretching. I do my fair share of stretching. Once in the morning, once after working out, again in the afternoon and then again in the evening while I’m watching TV with the family. Sometimes I’ll stretch even more than this. But, you will notice that I do a lot more stretching than the average person which is why I’ve always balked at the notion of adding yoga to my routine. Sage has a great website, located here, with a lot of great stuff that I definitely plan on checking out. I think the turning point for me was last weekend when I was hanging with my friend for our We Freakin’ Turned 40 celebration and she showed me some of the yoga moves she likes to do. So, she gets into this handstand, then she shows me the crow pose and side crow pose. Then, she does a head stand, goes directly into the crow pose and back into the head stand. Ummm, what!?! The balance is what really struck me and got me to thinking that maybe this is exactly why she keeps insisting I do yoga: for the strong core and balance. I guess I’ll give it a try. Hey, I even checked out the yoga class schedule at the gym this morning. It’s a start.

And, finally, I learned in yesterday’s RRT discussion that if cross-training is going to be incorporated into your race training program, you should include more cross-training in the earlier phase(s) of your program and then decrease the cross-training when you get closer to your goal race. That’s a good piece of advice. As you get more specific in your program you will do less cross-training.

I definitely took a lot of good stuff away from that episode.

So … 10 miles on the bike this morning followed by 30 minutes on the elliptical. Finally found a groove on that machine after the first 15 minutes. Then I headed downstairs and did some sets on the Calf Press, Hip Abductor and Hip Adductor machines.

Can I consider my bike to elliptical (about a 1.5 minute transition) a brick as well?

Now I’m starving!

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3 Responses to “Some New Things I've Learned”

  1. Maria April 9, 2009 at 2:57 pm #

    Yoga is sooooo much more than stretching and balance work. It’s a complete mind body connection so it strengthens you completely from the inside out and outside in. It’s challenging and beautiful. I think you’ll really like how it makes you feel.

  2. Fair Weather Runner April 9, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    I am a HUGE yoga fan. I think it has made a huge difference in my body shape actually, and I love the challenge of balance and strength poses. But I also LOVE doing a spin or body design class, I think cross-training is awesome and helps me a ton with running.

  3. Christie April 9, 2009 at 8:58 pm #

    I’ve been waiting for the weather to be decent to start riding my bike again. I loved it. And it was just relaxing.I did do yoga, and I really need to get back into that. But somehow I keep forgetting. I should tie a string around my finger.

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