Interview: Importance of Cross Training
July 29, 2012 at 11:09 PM
[Franz - HMBIM] Joesph Chlubna, Owner of Coastal Lifestyles Health & Fitness, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me about the importance of cross-training while training for the Half Moon Bay International Marathon. Speaking from personal experience, I love to run and if I could, running would be the only thing I'd do to prepare for a race. However, over the years (and injuries) I've learned that cross-training is a vital component to, not just staying healthy, but to improving my running. There are a lot of new and first-time runners at the HMBIM - can you briefly talk about what cross training is and what it's function is in a training program?
[Joseph - Coastal Lifestyles] Hello there Franz, and thank you for the opportunity to speak to the athletes preparing for the HMBIM. Distance running is not something our bodies were necessarily designed to do. Breaking it down to it’s most basic form, running is basically a repetitive unilateral (one leg) plyometric (jumping) activity. An average runner will take on approximately 1760 of these explosive steps per mile, multiply that over the course of multiple miles, 3-4 times per week and that’s a lot of volume, more volume then our muscles, joints and connective tissues were designed to handle with out breaking down and causing injury. You would never take a beginning exerciser and ask them to jump up and down on 1 leg over 800 times per leg so why would you think it would work for a runner? When someone says that they run, the follow up question is usually, “Have you been injured?” If the answer is no, then the immediate response is, just wait, you will be. It doesn’t have to be this way. This is where cross training comes into the picture. Over time due to the repetitiveness of running, deficiencies and tightness build up leading to compensations and later injury. By addressing these problems through a balanced routine of strength, flexibility and recovery you can to a great degree lessen or avoid injuries all together.
[Franz - HMBIM] The HMBIM has some packed dirt trail sections, about 30% according to the website. Although trail running is becoming more common place, there's still a fair amount of injury or stability concern from runners new to trail running. What specific exercises would you recommend to help runners prepare their bodies for running the Coastal Bluff Trails?
[Joseph - Coastal Lifestyles] Two things: 1) work on the mobility and flexibility of your ankles and calves, this is an area that is almost always tight and inflexible on runners. 2) go barefoot whenever you can and try doing some runs or sprints on the sand; the instability will strengthen all of the tendons, ligaments and various connective tissues that tend to be at risk.
[Franz - HMBIM] At what point in a 18-week marathon training program should a runner start a cross-training program and for how many days a week?
[Joseph - Coastal Lifestyles] Start today, there is no time like the present. With regard to strength training I would recommend no less then 2 sessions per week and no more then 3-4. One session would be nearly useless and more then 4 would lead you down the overtraining spiral.
[Franz - HMBIM] And lastly, you've been very generous in opening Coastal Lifestyles Health & Fitness to runners of the HMBIM through your instructional videos, 8-week training program, and 1 month free membership during the month of September (details on the HMBIM Training page). This is an amazing offering and a grand example of what our coastal athletic community is all about. In addition, there are some HMBIM Course Tour & Coastal Lifestyles collaborations in the works that I'm very excited about too! Is there anything you'd like to elaborate either about these offerings or Coastal Lifestyles?
[Joseph - Coastal Lifestyles] I am also very excited about this year's collaboration events. I am a firm believer in “Fitness as a lifestyle,” and love the fact that our little community has come together to produce such an outstanding, internationally recognized, fitness event. If you are in need of specific advice regarding strength training or nutritional plans please do not hesitate to contact us, we have a plan suitable for a variety of goals and budgets.
[Franz - HMBIM] On behalf of all the HMBIM staff and 2012 runners, thank you for sharing your training knowledge and supporting the event!
[Joseph - Coastal Lifestyles] Thank you for having me Franz, I am proud to be a part of the HMBIM team and sponsors. Keep runnin’ and I’ll see you out there on those 26.2 miles of running heaven!
Franz Dill is the Director of Training for the Half Moon Bay International Marathon, and is responsible for organizing all online and in-person training resources for athletes participating in the HMBIM. Franz is an accomplished ultramarathoner who completed the coveted Grand Slam of Ultrarunning in 2011 and is also a Certified Coach with the Road Runner's Club of America (RRCA).