Running Tuesdays: Smart Cross Training

by Monika Oberer

I joined a class to train for my first half marathon; it was only running involved. After finishing my first half-marathon, I was hooked in to running and wanted more! A full marathon!  I started to read more about running and spend more time with runners. Overall I had the feeling that only “real” runner athletes need to cross train. Me-I’m new and not at all on a upper level of this sport.

As I started to train for my first full marathon a friend of mine said, “You can run a lot of miles to train, but if your upper body muscles are weak you will never run proud looking up to the sky.” That made me think, and I tried some home exercises. I have never been to a gym and was very intimadated by the thought of going to a gym where everyone sees me not being in shape.  One day I did a long run and I could not look straight up; my shoulders hurt and I was in upper-body pain. THAT WAS IT!

I started to go to a gym 3 times a week for 30 -45 min. And of course I started to like it! I very much liked the fact that my body started to change! I started to feel proud at my runs!  So as I added weight to my X Training I became more and more aware that it helps my running, and that’s all I wanted!  I did finish my first marathon in Miami looking up to the sky proud and said, “Chicago, I am coming to get you!”

As I trained for the 2014 Chicago Marathon my dear friend Lorraine and I ran 5-6 times a week in the morning and went to the gym after work 3 times a week. It was a lot of training BUT so much fun!! We pushed each other at the gym hard and it started to show and we could feel it! OH CHICAGO, we were ready! And we had an amazing race.

Then Lorraine introduced me to something I, for a month, said I would NEVER do… (well never say never with good friends) Cross Fit LWR. Box jumps, pull ups, Trusters, deadlifts, burpees, back Squat, clean and Jerk, Kettlebel swing, pushups……… WHAT ???? Anyone trying to kill me??? 

Yes, I did sign up and did the beginner’s class. That week I learned that I had muscles I did not know existed in my body. However I started to like it as much as I hated it. And the gang there was so welcoming and supportive, so it made it easy to stay. The different movements I have learned have also strengthened muscles to help me prevent injury and keep me going! 

I have now been doing Cross Fit 3 times a week with running 3-4 times a week for 22 months. I can see and feel the difference in my running performance. I don’t think I would be as strong of a runner and would have not accomplished so much in the last 2 years without Cross Training.  Of course, every runner does Cross training their own way; I just believe that ANY smart cross Training will improve your injury-free running and most importantly your health and fitness level. 

Don’t we active people want to do this forever? 

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