After my marathon, Danni posted a comment suggesting the FIRST running program. I gave it some thought because she's right - I am truly injury prone. But, only running three workouts per week conflicts with something else; I'll get to that in a minute. Thankfully, the comment did get me motivated to try a variety of running alternatives to see what works for me. It's about time cuz I'm getting old! I've learned a lot and you can now consider me a convert to cross training.
What I tried: swimming laps, elliptical, stationary bike, mountain bike, yoga (gasp), ballet barre, strength training
What I learned: I really liked swimming, but I don't want to pay for a gym membership and the schedule didn't really work for me. The elliptical was ok but again - gym membership and I can't afford to buy one. Stationary bike...snooze. The ballet barre was of course familiar and I really wanted it to work, but it's too hard on my earlier in life injuries.
What worked: Mountain biking!!! It's sooo hard especially with the trails around here. I'm bruised and battered but love it so. I go by myself or Steve and Buddy hike while I learn to navigate the terrain. I'm getting the hang of uphill, but the downhill is scary-especially coming around the switchback curves.
The biggest surprise: YOGA! I'd taken classes in the past, but - this may sound very silly - I could not handle the breathy, annoying voices of the instructors and their endless commentary like "soften the eyes." What's that about anyway? However, I got lucky with my choice of purchased DVDs and can't get enough of it. In just two weeks, I can tell a big difference in muscle tone, strength and flexibility. My nagging Achilles and IT band soreness has really improved as well. I really like the power yoga, but am finding I also like PM yoga workouts which focus more on breathing and stretching. I still incorporate some free weights, single leg lunges, etc. but really the yoga takes care of a lot.
I'm also excited about another something new - the thing that conflicts with the FIRST running idea. Towards the end of summer, I was talking to a friend about women who run but feel too slow to join a running group. One thought led to another and pretty soon a women's running group was formed; one especially for new runners, those returning to running, and people who just want to get together, socialize in a healthy way and motivate each other. We've now been running twice a week for almost two months and I am completely blown away by how it's taken off. These women are working hard and they are getting faster! Mostly though, I just love listening to their conversations; realizing how important those two scheduled times have become. I love being a part of it and look forward to seeing people each week who inspire me.
So that's it. Like I said, a whole lotta new and a whole lotta fun!!!