After the race I did 2 weeks ago, I decided to combat the niggle that was grating away at me and take a little bit of time off from running. In the wise words of Grayson Murphy, “If you listen to your body when it whispers, you don’t have to hear it scream”. Therefore, I decided to listen to my body telling me something wasn’t right, and tackle the niggle before it started to scream at me. This meant switching running for cross training, and doing sessions on the cross trainer/elliptical. Whilst no way near as enjoyable, cross training sessions are not something to be laughed at, because they HURT, and I sweat buckets and buckets, and this makes them quite satisfying.
I had quite a few people message me asking for some recommendations of cross training sessions, so I’ve put together my top 5 sessions. If you work hard in these, you will be close to throwing up at the end of your session, and feel quite satisfied.
*Always start with a warm up. You can do it on the elliptical as well or on the bike if you prefer. I tend to do 15-20 minutes. I do the same for a cool down afterwards.
20 x 1 min hard/1 min easy
This is a great session because you can really work on turning those legs over as quickly as possible. I always see a 1 minute rep as a sprint. I go as hard as I can and hold on. For the first 10 reps this will feel quite good, but trust me, by the end it will really bite. This also makes for a very satisfying session as you can push your heart rate up and come away with jelly legs, making you feel like you’ve worked as hard (if not harder) than you would in a running session.
12 x 2 minutes hard with alternating recovery of 60 secs, 45 secs, 30secs recovery
The recovery of this session is what makes it interesting and keeps you on your toes. I always keep the recovery moving, especially because it is hard to get going if you have come to a stop than it is if you are spinning the legs very slowly. This is especially the case when the recovery is only 30 seconds. It is better to keep the momentum going. The alternating recovery stops your mind from switching off, and makes sure you work hard throughout.
Fartlek, 4 x 2 mins, 90 secs, 60 secs, 30 secs (all 30 secs recovery)
In any circumstance, I love a fartlek session. The variation in rep length allows you to work different systems but also prevents your mind from getting bored. Word of warning, this session is TOUGH, but AMAZING. The 30 seconds recovery really comes back to bite you in the final set. When I was doing this session, I was so so close to throwing up, that I actually surprised myself when I didn’t. However, once that final 30 second rep is done, the satisfaction level this session creates is sky high. I would probably say this is my favourite session.
15 x 75 seconds (45 seconds recovery)
This is another great staple session. I try to split it up in my mind into 3 sets of 5 with different focuses for each. For the first 5, I will focus on working hard but feeling comfortable. I will make sure on the middle 5 the legs start to feel it but still feel strong, then the final 5 I will really start to push on and give it everything.
Pyramid: 5 mins, 4 min, 3 min, 2 min, 1 min, 30, 1 min, etc. (60 ses recovery)
A pyramid session is great for going through all the gears. Starting off with the longer rep allows you to work more on your endurance, but working down to the 60 second and 30 second reps gives you the chance to get legs turning over quickly. You then gradually build up through the motions and finish on a 5 minute rep on very tired legs. This will feel tough, but having a longer rep at the end will train your legs to keep going even when the legs tire, like at the end of a race.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!