5 Things every runner can do to cross train efficiently

Want a great and easy workout? Well switch to running today but remember running alone isn’t the solution. Irrespective of what your goals are, a marathon, half marathon or weight loss in order to get faster and stronger you need to step it up a notch and best way for that is to incorporate some cross training into your running workouts. Don’t know where to begin? Well here are 5 ways you can do it.

Add few strength moves

Exhausted halfway through your run? Strength exercises are exactly what you need and no you do not have to spend on weights or machines. Using your bodyweight will boost your strength and endurance greatly and lower injury risks.

For the lower body I would suggest exercises such as calf raise, squats, lunges etc. For the core planks, crunches, leg raise are awesome while push-ups, bench dips, etc. will improve upper body strength. Start off with 2 sets of 10 reps and train 2-3 days a week.

Go for a swim

Are you in the mood to do something fun? Well then my suggestion would be to get out your swimsuit and head off to a nearby pool for a swim. This is especially helpful to those recovering from serious injuries such as shin splints or runner’s knee.

It will strengthen your hips and core thus increasing your stride. Start with a few easy laps of about 20-25 minutes and then build on it.

swimming

CrossFit

Want a boost early into the race? Well then CrossFit is just the exercise you’re looking for but mind you it’s not going to be easy. This exercise form strengthens muscles that running ignores. Its high intensity will have your heart racing within minutes thus in turn improving endurance.

Snatches are a must do workout for those looking to build speed. Apart from that you can also take up rowing and a few more from the video below.

Try Yoga

Like it or not stretching was, is and will always be an important part of training for every runner. Running can be a monotonous activity which makes the muscles tight. Stretching or yoga loosens the muscles and thus lowers injury risk too.

You’ll not only focus better but also have more control over your breathing which is essential to effective running. Those up for a challenge should switch to Vinyasa Yoga.

vinyasa-yoga

Plyometrics

Ever found yourself dragging your feet while running? Plyometrics includes high intensity and dynamic moves that will boost both strength and control. Since you’ll constantly be in motion your legs will learn to act as spring thus efficiently soak in the force of each step to give you a good boost and in turn helping  stay ahead of the pack. Box jump, burpees are a couple of moves. To know more check out video below.

Why every swimmer should be a rower too

rowing machine

Getting into the right training routine with all the option available can be tough for any beginner triathlete. Getting better and faster isn’t always about going up a hill, sweating it out for hours in the gym or dragging yourself out for a run 6 am in the morning. Exercise isn’t about draining yourself out but feeling energized this why I use Concept 2 Rowers to train on my off days.

These rowers are the beast when it comes to cardio machines. Strength, stamina, muscle toning etc. they’re perfect for all. Here’s a little more about their benefits.

Perfect Aerobic workout

Irrespective of your age or your fitness goals are a good cardio sessions plays an important part in any exercise routine. When combined with weight workouts having a strong cardio session will boost your strength, stamina etc. to newer heights.

Endorphin generation in the body increases improving both sleep and mood. The adjustable resistance, integration of various muscles and its ability to boost and slow down heart rate smoothly make it the perfect aerobic workout equipment.

Ideal for weight loss

Yes other cardio machine like the treadmill, arc trainer etc. are great too but none have the fat burning capacity of a rowing machine. With the topmost models you can burn about 1000 calories in just 1 hour.

The treadmills focus too much on the legs plus a run outside is any day more refreshing, the cycle has little to no arm movement but a rower is a true full body workout machine thus toning every single muscle and preventing unnecessary weight gain before races.

Works out the upper body

Continuing on my previous point, rowers unlike it various counter parts integrate the upper body muscle too into the workout. Your shoulder, triceps, back etc. all work up a good sweat. Strengthening these muscles will further improve your posture and reduce any back aches.

It will strengthen your core and other important muscle like the biceps; chest etc. which in turn will improve your gripping and pedaling on the bike and help you swim longer and faster.

Its risk free

Ever wondered why runners tend to have so many injury issues? Well it’s just that kind of a sport irrespective of whether you’re on a treadmill, uphill of a trail or participating in races the risk remains high but not so with rowing thus you won’t be riddled with joint aches and bruises post training making it the perfect machine to prep for your upcoming triathlon. Just do not let your posture go wrong and go slow.

It’s cheap

Irrespective of how motivated you are spending anything above a $1000-$2000 is not worth it especially since rowing is just an add-on exercise for you. Rowers can come as cheap as $250 plus they are convenient to use and store as most of them get folded thus taking up no extra space at home. Yes you can buy a $1000 top end model and though it’s still a bargain considering the benefits I would advice against it.

5 Drinks to avoid before you train

Hydration has always been a key element of any triathletes training program. Lack of strength while swimming, cycling or running or imbalance and poor overall performances are often a sign of dehydration.

Proper hydration is needed before, during and also after your training and thus it’s important you stick to the right liquids. While water is the obvious choice there are plenty of flavored drinks available both good and bad so here’s a list of the top 5 drinks you need to avoid before your training.

Alcohol

One drink that goes out of the pre training drinks list without saying is booze. Whether it’s just a beer or a cocktail if your training is coming up next alcohol is going to do you no good. Excess of it is only going to lead to dehydration, prolonged inflammation, loss of balance and poor choices.

A cup of coffee with low caffeine content is the ideal choice as it can get you up and running quickly thus helping you train efficiently.

Carbonated Drinks

Apart from alcoholic drinks the next most harmful drink for your training are fizzy soda drinks. These drinks often result in bloating due to gas and and also cause cramps and aches. The high sodium content in the drinks sucks out the water from the cells leading to dehydration.

Aspartame used in drinks as the sweetening agent is known to reduce memory, migraines, dizziness etc. Ice tea or coffee is a better alternative and in the right amounts keep cancer away.

Sports Drinks

sports drinks

Lots of athletes advertise sports drinks but truth be told only a hand full of them are genuine. Most of these drinks are packed with sugar and preservatives and while may provide some electrolytes; hardly have any valuable nutritional value.

The high sugar content of these drinks causes hormonal imbalance in the body which impairs the recovery process. Rather opt for a glass full of fresh tomato juice since it contains potassium and natural sugar and keeps BP in check.

Milk drinks

milk drinks

While milk has its own set of benefits it isn’t the perfect pre race drink either. These drinks are best consumed after your training routine. That’s because milk is rich in protein, carbs and fat and takes longer to digest. For protein intake stick to whey supplements mixed with water. These are digested quickly and plus provide your training the much needed boost.

Fruit Juices

Remember those squeezy fruit juice packets you so loved growing up? For your pre training hydration these are one the worst possible choices as they contain high amounts of high fructose corn syrup.  This is an unnatural sweetener known to damage liver, metabolism and cause weight gain.

For fruit juice lovers there’s no drink better than freshly squeezed juice from citrus fruits such as oranges, berries etc. Coconut water too is an excellent alternative to regain lost electrolytes.

 

Here some other triathlon training tips you’ll find useful

5 professional training hacks for newbie riders

Attractive, healthy woman drinks from her water bottle on mountain bike. active outdoor lifestyle concept

Irrespective of how you ride, your race goals or your bike type, I am sure you‘re always looking to learn and improve, ride faster and train harder and what better than a few hacks from the experts themselves isn’t it? So next time you’re on the saddle here are 5 tips you need to keep in mind.

End it well

How many times have you seen riders speed off through the blocks and fade midway through? Well the winner is the guy that ends on a high rather than begins at the top so whether you’re training or its race day always finish well.

This will also increase efficiency and make you mentally and physically tougher as you’d be training out of your comfort zone i.e. with tired and sore muscles. You’d also burn fat better which will boost your overall performance.

Eat light at night

Unless a serious case of sleep walking there’s more likely no physical activity expected at night and thus eating a stomach full before bed is usually considered as overeating by experts. Yes you don’t want to be starving either but leaving a little room is desirable as it helps control weight which often is quite tough for athletes.

Going to bed hungry is great for weight loss but that isn’t the aim either. Maintaining the right weight is the goal so skip the last pizza slice or chicken piece today at dinner.

Keep it steady

Most of your training should focus on riding at a particular speed. This will help you develop a strong base which in turn boosts fat burning and strengthens muscles more efficiently. You’d also learn to pace yourself better, a handy trick for your next race.

Ensure this speed is neither too easy nor too tough but rather a steady pace at which you can have a conversation without going breathless but yet feel tired by the end of it.

Keep negativity out

Have you ever had that feeling where your legs seem to get heavy, your stomach growls but you aren’t hungry or the heart’s pounding against your chest? Happens even to the best before a race but it’s just a feeling that shall pass 5-10 minutes into the race.

Avoid getting bogged down by such negative thoughts. Getting across the finish line is all that should be on your mind.

Take rest seriously

While logging the miles on the bike is important most pros also spend quite a chunk of time off it too. Training daily can be stressful. Apart from that there is also the day to day rigor we all must endure and taking time off is the best way to detox the stress.

It will refresh you both physically and mentally. Not taking these breaks can often result in an overload which reduces recovery period that in turn tends to mess up the training and overall performance.

Here’s what the experts have to say

Our top 5 recommended Road bikes for 2016

Whether you ride long or short, whether your pro or a beginner or ride just to lose weight or win triathlons, everything always comes down to the bike you own. None of these goals can be achieved without a strong, low maintenance bike and while the below mentioned bikes may cost a significant sum they’re worth every penny you’ll spend. So if you’re preparing for a triathlon or off on a different adventure and looking for a new bike, check these top 5 bikes for 2016.

Van Dessel Motivus Maximus

Maximus has been a name long associated with gladiators and this bike is no less. Though prices at about $5000 it can roll over smoothly even the toughest of roads. This is further ensured by the 27 mm seat post and 28-29 mm wheels.

It also comes with an easily changeable dropout and can fit in any hub of about 140-142 mm. The bike comes with the widely recommended carbon frame with excellent quality rims and disc brakes.

van dessel

Litespeed T3

This bike too comes with a titanium frame but its bets features are the newly designed chainstays and seat stay that can glide over even the bumpiest of roads. Teamed together with the Shimano Ultegra brakes and drivetrain this bike packs a punch in all departments.

The Stratus pro alloy can integrate tubeless tires ensuring a less troublesome ride and reduced bike weight. The bike is priced around $5000.

 

litspeed

 

Parlee Chebacco

Guess what, the Chebacco has been named after a place in Boston known to have sucky roads with the purpose to handle the strain of similar roads. The carbon frame and the 38mm wheels ensure you enjoy a comfortable ride on the crappiest of roads.

The geometry of the bike is very similar to the latest cyclocross bikes except here the lower bracket is placed lower. This gives the riders a more stable and comfortable ride. The bike is priced at $6000.

parlee-chebacco-996

Mosaic Cycles GT-1

While Mosaic has a wide variety of both mountain and road bikes its stand out model still remains the GT-1 and the best feature of this bike is its titanium frame. It has a clearance of about 35-40mm and thus is the perfect bike for rocky roads and though you have an option of going for either disc or rim brakes our suggestion would be you team up the disc brakes with the 11mm thru axle for a top notch ride.  The bike’s cost is about $5500.

 

mosaic

 

Eddy Merckx Strasbourg 71

One if the cheaper bike on the list for this year is the Strasbourg 71 as it’s priced at about $2500. It has a history anyone would be proud of and its awesome design, ride stability are the perfect tribute to the historic landmark. Read all about it here. The bike also comes with a 1005 mm wheelbase and the inexpensive Shimano 105 groupset makes it the ideal bike for all kinds of roads.

 

Merckx Strasbourg71