I read an article in Marathon and Beyond the other day. The article reviewed the various studies that have been done on the effectiveness of cross training for distance runners. There were a few points I gleaned from the article.
- Swimming has not been shown to be particularly effective for improving ones running ability.
- Water Running, Cycling, and Elliptical trainers have been shown to be helpful. (I already knew that)
- It is okay to replace an easy run day with equivalent (or greater) time on a bike. (I knew this as well)
- Here was the revelation….. Since the cross training, let say cycling, is using different muscles or using the same muscles differently, you can replace an easy day running with a hard day cycling! This can be very beneficial. It is the legs, ligaments and joints that need the recovery time not the heart and lungs. So, you can do interval effort or tempo effort type workouts on the bike on an easy day to make gains in VO2 max or in lactate threshold without over-stressing the legs, ligaments and joints.
So today, two days after the OC Marathon, I thought I would give it a try. I am feeling pretty good. The stiffest and sorest muscle is actually my LEFT calf. The right piriformis and right foot / ankle do not seem any worse for the wear. Christian was unavailable but I rode my bike to Hillview anyway. I rode easy going to Hillview but coming home I thought I would work on some hill repeats. I live on the hill above the 10th West Albertsons. As I approached from the Highland High area I rode through the houses on the south side of Elizebeth Lake Rd. It is interesting how they laid out most of these houses. The streets go straight up the hill. I was able to ride straight up one hill and down the next. Today I chose 6 hills. Each of them as steep or steeper than my usual 15th st West hill toward my house. One of them was considerably steeper. The last one was shorter so I left it up a couple of gears and went up the hill standing…..
I figure this was probably the equivelent of 6 reps of 400 meters. My heart and lungs were definitely into the action and my legs were feeling the burn. They did not feel like they were being hampered by the fatigue of the marathon…
I am about to head over to Joe Walker to lead the HDR track workout. I do not plan on running myself.