Which Cross-Training Activity Will Enhance Ginkgo’s Run Training?

Running, running, running. Maybe I need something else?

In following along with the other Salty bloggers’ training logs these last three months, I’ve noticed that my training logs are, well … boring! I Pepper got busy on the Cyclocross circuit. Cilantro pounded out many an elliptical workout. Clove is always spinning (how DOES she run and then do back-to-back spinning classes, I’ll never know!) Vanilla and Licorice are hitting the pool and the bike. Salty baked a baby. All I ever do is run (and write books, occasionally break an arm or try on glittery push-up sports bras).

I find myself jealous of these avid cross-trainers and want to add a vartiety to my training. After all, variety is the spice of life (har!) Today I’m asking for your input: will cross-training jazz up my training and improve my running? And if so, which of these activities do you think I should try?

Zumba demo
Put me in the back row, and I’ll be fine.

1.) Zumba. So, I used to be a dancer. I danced until I was 18. Then, I stopped…completely. I feel like my flexibility has since decreased, but there’s still something so liberating about shaking my body to the rhythm of tunes and just letting loose. I know, I’m a dork. I’ve heard great things about Zumba and some swear it burns 80398598394  calories per hour, but I’ve been a bit shy about signing up for my first class. In 2013, I will. Who knows, maybe I’ll get hooked. Any experience with Zumba? Should this be the winner to land a spot in Ginkgo’s 2013 weekly routine?

2.) Spinning. I’ve dabbled in spinning, especially in the winter months, but I’ve never stuck with it long enough to really notice any physical benefits. If I end up getting another gym membership for the snowy months, I’ll likely give this a shot with my fiancee at the 5:30 a.m. time slots. If this becomes the winner, perhaps really branch out and try a duathlon? (Licorice, I might need some pointers here!)

3.) Pure Barre. It seems like all the craze. Invented by a dancer and fitness guru, this work-out embraces one’s inner ballerina. All you need is a ballet barre to make isometric movements! It’s said to lift your seat, tone your thighs and burn fat. I mean I wouldn’t mind a more Kardashian(ish) boo-tay! Sure, it’s no pole-dancing workout, but I’m still a little nervous about trying this one out. If you’ve tried it, please let me know if it’s worthy of making the list!

Ballet shoes, showing the dancer's feet in fif...
Fifth position. Whoa! Brings back memories. Perhaps 2013 will be the year of channeling my inner ballerina? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4.) Yoga. Again, I’ve dabbled in yoga and used to practice 2x per week when it was offered during lunchtime at my old office, but I’ve since used every excuse in the book to make it nothing more than sporadic. It’s not “exercising” and it’s “boring”…blah…blah…blah. I feel like I’m the only runner in the universe these days who doesn’t dig yoga. Is there something I’m missing?

What say you? To enhance my running in 2013 should I add cross-training activities and if so, which ones? 


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I'm a new momma, full-time non-profiter, and coffee lover. I write about healthy body image, half marathon training, and recovery from eating disorders. I'm currently training to maintain fitness throughout the winter and break 1:27:00 in my next half marathon.

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  1. I really like yoga, I just started integrating it into my training and I feel like it’s a really good compliment. I’ve found it’s helped with my overall strength and helped with flexibility a lot. It also really helps to get into those areas that are always tight on runners like hamstrings and hips

  2. Yoga! Right now, I practice daily and I can’t say enough about what it’s done for my running. I either practice at home with videos on yogaglo.com or go to my favorite studio and take hot power vinyasa classes. Not only has it helped me become stronger and more flexible, but it has helped me focus and be present in life, work and while running.
    And thanks for the reminder that I need to write more about cross training in my training logs too!

  3. I’d go with yoga or the ballet class. I am not a big fan of using cross-training to improve running – I’m of the opinion that if you want to be a better runner, then you should, you know, run 🙂 But the yoga and the barre class seem like they’d be like stretching or strengthening exercises, which we could all stand to do.

    I do enjoy yoga when I can get to it, but with my limited time I tend to dismiss it as too low-key, even though I know there are many hard-core yoga workouts out there. It’s just hard to fit everything in!

  4. I’m definitely going to try my best to get back into the yoga routine. The more runners I talk to, the more I hear how much they appreciate the flexibility, strength and stretching it provides. I do miss the peace of mind it provides – and since my job requires some time at the office/desk/typing on the computer, my posture could benefit, too. I signed up for a pure barre class on Monday -eek! So, I’ll let you know how that goes. I definitely agree that to improve running, running is the way to go. Just sometimes I wonder if my body has “desensitized” itself to running, in a sense. If I switch it up, will it help with my strength, endurance and flexibility; ultimately improving my overall athleticism and perhaps race times? I’m not trying to switch it up to lose weight or change my pattern or anything like that – just to break out of the monotony and perhaps add a new component to my weekly routine!

  5. I’d do spinning and yoga. I used to teach 5 spinning classes a week in addition to running, and my race times were awesome. I think the two really do compliment each other well. Yoga will help keep you flexible, and help with muscle balance. I’ve tried barre and all it did was hurt my knees. Zumba? Not in a million years (for me anyway). Another one you didn’t mention is weight training. Strong muscles definitely lead to strong running.

    1. +1 on the weight training if you have access. doing lunges and strict squats with just a little weight improves a whole number of muscles as well as bone density. can never have too much of that as we age!

  6. Pure Barre is great! I did it for a while and I loved it – You really do get toned and more flexible. I would still be going but it is quite expensive for a poor student like me.

  7. I’d like to vote for all of the above! I’m a big proponent of mixing it up. I really like Zumba, and did Zumba Toning (with weights) one summer when it fit with my schedule really well.

  8. I totally agree with incorporating more yoga (I need to do it too) but also strength training. I’m finding that working on my core and arms totally helps me in my speed and hill training!

  9. i have improved my running and stayed injury-free, in part if not in hole, by going to a cardio “kick-boxing and cross-fit” class, once a week. it’s really comfortable for anyone in that there are all ages, although more women than men, and all fitness levels. i love it because you get what you give; the more effort, the better you feel. i am always sore for a few days afterwards but this is likely because i only go once a week.

    it’s great, too, because a runner friend teaches it and we have a few other runner friends that are regulars. having friends in whatever you decide to do will help a lot. “misery” always enjoys company. ;^)

  10. Thanks, all! Lots of good advice that I will take to heart. Pure Barre certainly is expensive! I have a friend who swears by Cross-Fit. I used to take a class called “body sculpting” 2x a week with my mom when I lived in Cleveland and found myself stronger and more toned; I’d like to get back to that!

  11. Meggie!! I have added weekly barre and hot yoga classes to my training schedule and I have noticed a huge difference in my strength and flexibility. Highly recommended. I hope your’e doing well, lady!!