Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Benefits of Kayaking and Cross-Training, Part II

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Today’s Workout: Rest day

I wish I could say that today’s (Monday’s) rest day was hard to take off, but it wasn’t. I was pretty freaking tired after Sunday’s run! If you haven’t checked out my post from Sunday, be sure to read it, as I’ll be referring to a couple things mentioned in it.My last post was on the benefits of kayaking as a form of cross-training. Today, I’ll be discussing the benefits of trail running as a form of cross-training.

First off, my time on Sunday was slooooow, but that didn’t bother me at all. The point of my run was to complete a long, slow run, which is what I did. And because I have been having some major issues with pacing myself, I decided to take it to the trails. I felt like it was the best decision I made in my life! I barely looked at my GPS watch the entire time I was running! I just enjoyed myself, stopped and took some photos for the blog a couple of times, and concentrated on not falling.

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There are a couple bridges in the trail system behind my house; this is the first of the two. I actually took this shot during my early morning run last Friday.

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The trails behind my house actually meet up with the lake where JP and I go kayaking.

How could I not enjoy my run when I’m able to enjoy this beautiful scenery? For me, I feel at home when I’m running in the woods. I ran high school cross-country while attending a private school in the city, practicing on the road all the time, so I was always ecstatic when we had cross-country meets at another school where you actually ran in the woods. To me, that’s what cross-country running embodies.

I could go on and on about what I love about trail running, but for time’s sake, I’m breaking the benefits and withdrawals into a list of pros and cons:

Pros:
• It will force you to slow down and pace yourself
• It will prevent you from shuffling – you HAVE to pick your feet up to avoid tripping over a branch or rock!
• You are less susceptible to knee injury, as the trails are more forgiving on your legs than pavement
• Your chances of getting hit by a car are zero to none (unless your trail meets up with a road that you have to cross somewhere along the line)
• You’re less likely to get bored, as it’s a nice change of scenery
• You could possibly spot some cool wildlife, like a deer or a moose
• You’re less likely to check your GPS every two seconds, because you’re not only enjoying the scenery, but pushing yourself as well, and are too busy making sure you don’t trip and fall to look at it 🙂
• You WILL get a workout, and although it doesn’t seem like it, the trails will help you improve your time

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The second bridge I encountered on my run.

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A scenic view of the lake after crossing the bridge.

Those photos are all to remind you of the beautiful scenery you can find on trail runs before I dive into the drawbacks of them.

Cons:
• You’ll be moving at a slower pace.
• If you run on the trails enough, you’re likely to trip and fall. In fact, you may just hurt yourself if you trip and fall, so pick those feet up!
• My friend Meg’s biggest fear – you may encounter a snake…or even worse, some other sort of wildlife that could hurt you.
• It’s usually a lot more secluded on the trails, so if you get injured, it could be hours, even days, before someone finds you (I always bring my cell phone)
• You could possibly get poison ivy or poison oak if running somewhere with tall grass (luckily I am resilient to both)
• It’s a major workout compared to road running (this could be a pro or a on, depending on who you’re talking to)

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There’s a beach across the lake from where I run, so I suppose if I ever got injured, I could always yell out to the people there!

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When on the trails, the end of my run usually consists of going up this huge, mountain-like hill. This photo doesn’t do it justice. My short-term goal is to be able to run this entire hill by the end of the month!

So, what do you think…are you ready to give trail running a try?

If you’re already a trail runner, where’s your favorite spot or what’s your favorite race to go trail running?

Next up this week: Wicked Random Wednesday makes a comeback and Short-Term Goals vs Long-Term Goals to keep you motivated.

The Benefits of Kayaking and Cross-Training, Part I

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Yesterday’s Workout: 3.03 miles @ 29:07
Today’s Workout: 6.00 miles @ 1:14:56

There, I’m glad we’re all caught up now with my mileage for the past two days! I downloaded the most recent version of the WordPress app onto my phone, so if this blog post looks a little different than normal, I apologize!

When I started to write this post, I intended to make it about both kayaking and cross-training (as in cross-training in the trails), but it started to get really long and out of control, so I’m breaking it down into Part I and Part II.

JP had asked for Giftcards to Dick’s Sporting Goods for his birthday. He originally had wanted to get an elliptical, but since the one he wanted is pretty costly, we’ve put our dreams of buying that on the back burner for now. Instead, he got another kayak. This one is for me to use (and I did not ask for, not put him up to this, I swear!). I didn’t really show any interest in kayaking until he asked me about a week ago if I would go with him if he got one for me, too. So yesterday, we hopped in the car, went to Dick’s and got a lovely bluish/greenish kayak for me, along with a paddle and life vest. When we got home, we walked the dogs, both went running, and in JP’s words, “We GOT it!” (My new running mantra).

Around six o’clock, we decided to take our kayaks out on the lake, which is literally two minutes away from my house. It took me a little while to get the hang of kayaking, but I managed to get it after about 15 minutes, and was paddling along in no time. The lake near our house is pretty large, with a dam, an island you can kayak around, and even a tunnel you can go through!

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Not sure if you can see the tunnel too well, I took this picture today on my trail run!

The weather was perfect – a little chilly, but great for if you’re breaking out in a sweat. My arms started to burn pretty quickly (did I tell you I have no upper arm strength), but I just kept paddling. JP and I are pretty competitive, and I knew he wanted to turn this into a race, but this is one I wouldn’t be able to win. We paddled around the island, where people can actually rent out to go camping on, and the people staying there’s Pitbull chased us by running into the water, swimming towards us, and tried to hop into my boat. It was actually pretty scary! My first time out kayaking, and I get chased by a dog, lol. I’ve barely ever gotten chased by a dog while running!

I managed to get away, though, and have lived to tell the story. Now, if you’re wondering what this has to do with running, there are a few ways that you can benefit from kayaking as a runner. Kayaking is a great form of cross-training. A lot of runners like to lift weights to help build muscle mass. If you’re someone like me who wants to attain some arm muscle, but doesn’t get all to trilled about picking up a dumbbell, this is a great way to help you build some muscle, by:

• Forcing you to use your triceps by paddling
• Making you use your core (you get a total body work out, minus the legs) while pushing yourself through the water and breathing in time with your paddling

You’re probably wondering how this helps you while running? Well, you have to use your arms to help you pump yourself up a hill – or just in general – while running. And if you’re running properly, you should be using your core, as well!

I don’t think that kayaking should be the only form of cross-training that you use, but if you implement it in conjunction with weight lifting and running, it will help you build muscle mass…and you’ll have fun while doing it!

Stay tuned for Part II of my cross-training series, to be posted within the next couple of days!

Also, if you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to enter my contest to win a pair of My Soxy Feet!

What’s your favorite form of cross-training?