If you couldn’t tell from my oh-so-clever play on words post title, I’d like to talk about a whole new type of endurance animal, in the form of swim, bike, run.
Now, running has and will always be my first love—I bestowed it with soul mate status in my Valentine’s Day post, in fact.
However, as I’ve mentioned before, I do have some devotion to other sweat-enducing activities, namely—spinning and swimming. I like these two things because they are great supplements to running, as in great cross training, but I also like them because on their own—they’re a whole new physical challenge.
I feel like running gets all the credit sometimes as the most effective way to test and improve your fitness. I admit, I am totally guilty of doing this, because there’s no workout I prefer more than a long run. However, I really don’t think that biking and swimming should be given the shaft so quickly—because these can both be just as, if not more, effective in terms of boosting endurance strength.
Yes I just said that.
But, as someone who is currently out of the running game and needing to push herself otherwise, I’m finding a greater respect for these alternatives. Seriously though. If you haven’t swam laps since you first learned to swim back when you were a kid, I challenge you to get in the pool and knock out some freestyle. I think you will be amazed just how tired you get, even if your running strength is superb.
The other reason I’m a big proponent of these cross training activities is because they help our muscles recuperate from the wear and tear of running. Fact: running is not very good for your joints. Dean Karnazes and all you other freaks who never get injured and have perfect, unbreakable running genes—screw you. These specimens are rare. For the rest of us, running is a constant game of working hard, training hard, and all the while avoiding injury. If there were some magic pill that made running impact-less and perfectly healthy, I’d be first in line at the doctor begging for my prescription. But, that’s not the case—which is one the reasons I’ve steered my marathon brain slightly in the direction of multi-sport events.
As of right now, I am still planning on at least two half marathons and one full this year. One of the halfs is in question with my current asshole of a leg, but otherwise I’m all set for this running schedule. I’m
probably definitely going to add more, let’s be honest, I just need to pull some triggers. And by “pull some triggers” I mean “get more paychecks.”
While I love running training, I am also getting more and more interested in adding some additional challenge into the mix, in the form of triathlons.
Fun fact: I actually did three sprint triathlons long before even considering a running race. They were back in high school, when I somehow magically just whipped out these events despite never doing any of the activities, and they were definitely fun. So, I’m thinking for a starting point—I’m going to register for a sprint tri near the end of the summer (cough Nicole Danskin cough). I should probably put a bit more thought into this, but the fact is that I swim, “bike,” and run enough to where a sprint tri should really be no problem. However, like I said—it’s a starting point.
Now, this is still under some consideration, but as of right now—I am planning on signing up for a half Ironman next summer.
Yikes, just said it. Scary.
I know that the training is hard, but I know it’s exactly the kind of new challenge I’m looking for. I love the idea of block workouts (consisting of two endurance-related activities) and learning how to balance my energy over a long period of time. Additionally, I feel like this will keep my love for running alive and well by mixing up back-to-back marathon training cycles with something different.
Ultimately, I want to reach for something higher. Crazy, indeed, after my brush with casualty in the marathon two weeks ago, but this is honestly the way I operate. Yes, I got knocked down, but I know when I get up again (meaning, fully functioning IT band and absolved fear of running on hills) I am going to be stronger, smarter, and more anxious to challenge myself.
The thing I’ve taken away more than anything from that ill-fated race is that the brain and the body must always work in harmony; even when they’re fighting with one another, battling over pain versus persistence, we must know each of them well enough to know which to listen to. This is something I had lost touch with—and for the first time in my life, my mental game outweighed my physical capabilities. It’s one of the hardest parts of being an athlete, and it’s something I’m looking forward to exercising (pun intended) in my future endurance endeavors.
Oh, and I also took away the fact that I was a cocky little shit and the marathon is really, really, hard…no matter how well your first (or many) may have gone.
So there you have it Internet. This birdie is slotting July 2013 as the month of her first half Ironman, with some warm-up tris beforehand. I’ll write more on my approach to this endeavor when it’s not over a year away, but for now I’m excited to have something different on the horizon. And in the meantime, I’m looking forward to running soon.
Rest, rolling, ice, and froyo people—and your IT band will slowly but surely start to like you again.
Fingers crossed 🙂
Have you ever done a tri? Do you think there’s a difference between tri-people and marathon-people? Do you think I should probably go and buy that road bike already? Yea, me too.