I have been in a serious slump over the past two months. Running felt painful, exhausting, miserable. Because of that, I was unable to find the desire to lace up my shoes and hit the streets or trails. But, also during that time, something else happened. I’ve been helping coach my girls’ softball team and have been out at the fields throwing with the girls, running around with them, helping them to learn the game. That physical activity may be exactly what I needed: a change.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
– George Bernard Shaw

Progress. Change. And, there you have it. By changing my activity I have been able to revive my desire to run. Something in my mind has also changed because what felt painful and miserable now feels like challenge and satisfaction.

I’m envisioning long runs again. I’m dreaming about racing. I’m thinking about my next run. I’m beginning to schedule around my runs, not the other way around.

Life is good.

Important Lessons Learned From Cross Training

I always knew that I should cross train. Everybody tells you that it’s important, but do we listen? Nooo.

Okay, maybe not everyone is telling us this. I know that the majority of my running friends would admit that their running is all they need. But, they are on the same plane as I am. I am talking about the “experts”. If you take a step back and delve into the research and read up on balanced fitness you will discover that experts recommend supplementing your running routines with cross training such as swimming, yoga, weight lifting and dynamic exercise routines, among other types of exercise. Herein lies the problem: most of us “regular” runners have jobs and families to contend with, we fit running into our schedules wherever we can. Very seldom is there much room for the extras, like cross training.

I feel very fortunate to have a part-time job which affords me that extra time to maintain a well-balanced fitness plan. As I slowly come out of my three-year hiatus from running I am re-learning what total body fitness means. Trust me, I want to run. I really want to hit those streets and trails, train for a race, get back into that groove when I would disappear for three or four hours, just me and the open road, the sound of my feet on the pavement, nothing but me and my thoughts. I can taste it like it was yesterday.

Three years is enough time to lose all of your fitness, forcing you to start from square one all over again. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s provided me the opportunity to approach cross training much more seriously than in the past. I know that the more I work on my core muscles and my weaknesses, the less prone to injuries I will be. I will also be able to bounce back into running a little more quickly because I took the time to strengthen my muscles correctly.