Today was an opportune day to not run and cross train. For one reason the hamstring bicep was still a bit tender and I really want to run in Portland later this week. Secondly, it was the first day of the National Challenge Competition (NCC) for triathlon clubs.
Now I have no intention of doing a triathlon, I just want some incentive to cross train. I will more likely cross dress before doing a triathlon but I'll stop short of saying never lest I'm held to that statement. In any case I joined the club so I could be counted in the team totals for the next three months. I joined late last year and could only do one month and enjoyed the extra motivation it gave me to go the extra mile to two with my training.
My main cross train mode is elliptical trainer as I feel it gives the closest training effect to running. It requires you to stand up, balance and maintain the same cadence you would while running. I set the grade at about 6-7 so I can get enough resistance without sitting back as it's important to keep your hips up and forward like running. Resistance for easy run effort is whatever allows me to keep the RPM's at 160 give or take a few.
I add 2-3 pound hand weights to help get the heart rate up 6-8 BPM without losing cadence or having the arms feel flamed out. I don't hold on to the side rails or use the moving handles. For one reason it eliminates the balance aspect of the effort and as I mentioned in an earlier post, running is a balance activity. Another is if you use the moving handles you are moving your arms in a non-running motion. The goal is specificity so you can get the arm workout by holding light hand weights and keep your natural arm movement. The other benefit is you gain some specific strength that will help later in races when the legs begin to go.
I try to get my HR at the same level as if I were easy running, which is 140 BPM plus or minus 5-10 beats. I also did the stationary bike today to score that in my NCC totals. I struggled to get my HR over 110 because I haven't biked since last winter. I lack the specific training to get it higher without my legs going into shock. It will get better with time, but the difference between standing on an elliptical and sitting on a bike is significant.
Now the scary aspect of joining the team competition is that in the spirit of the event I have a goal of swimming one mile per month. I'm not required to swim as some people only bike or run for their training totals. But I figure, what the heck, why not put in a 1/4 mile of swimming each week? I have no doubt that my first post after swimming will be very interesting!