My foot was a little achy after my long run (8 whole miles, woohoo!) on Saturday, so yesterday I decided to skip the run and do some cross-training in the form of a 5-mile hike with MM and our dog.
At the end of the hike I had gained some well-worked legs, a nice long hang-out with MM, photos of the many beautiful views and cool plants, and, best of all, didn’t have any increase in my foot pain!
The benefits of this cross-training decision reminded me why preventative cross-training is so much better than the dreaded post-injury, can’t-run-at-all type of cross-training.
Preventative cross-training, or cross-training prior to injury or at the first sign of soreness, usually consists of 1 or 2 cross-training sessions every couple of weeks (or regularly scheduled each week if you know that you are injury prone). The emphasis is on giving the body a break from the impact and repetitive motion of running, as well as building strength in areas that running may neglect. For me, since I really love running and don’t much care for most cross-training options, the 1 – 2 times/week cross-training schedule is infinitely preferable to the post-injury, rehab style of cross-training (weeks to months of busting out every workout in the pool/on the bike/elliptical/rowing machine with no reprieve).
Unfortunately, my tendency (and that of most runners) to relegate cross-training to a last-resort actually increases the chances of injury and subsequent extended cross-training sessions.
I’m working on changing my mindset, as well as my approach to cross-training and building it into my schedule before injury pops up. Hopefully this approach will keep me healthier and happier in the long run 🙂