Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Rocky Road to Fitness

Yo, Taxi!
As a runner who is constantly looking to push the boundaries of my fitness, I sometimes find myself becoming injured. Unfortunately, those injuries seem to be coming more frequently as I age. As a result, I’ve been spending a lot more of my time lately cross training instead of actually running. And, while I do enjoy sitting for hours upon hours on my comfy bike seat, after a while it leaves me wanting something more. So, recently I decided to take a page from the Italian Stallion himself and do some Extreme Cross Training!

Most runners are probably all too familiar with traditional cross training such as swimming, biking & weight lifting. However, these methods can only take you so far. Fortunately, that’s where the patented Rocky routine comes in handy! And, as we’ve seen in countless movies, it only takes a few minutes to get in really, really great shape. Because, as everyone knows, Sly Stallone spends 95% of the Rocky sequels messing around and only about 5% of his time actually training. But, to his credit, he usually does it to a really cool soundtrack!

You're a bum
Now, I know what you’re saying, “What if I can’t find a flock of chickens or a side of beef to train with, but I still feel the overwhelming desire to eat lightning & crap thunder”? Well, fear not! You can start building some “hurtin’ bombs” today simply by following my easy plan to “Extreme Cross Training – The Rocky Way”. So without further ado, here is a summary of Rocky’s best training methods (from easiest to most difficult) with Domestic Equivalents (things you can easily do around the house) for those weekend warriors who are meat or poultry challenged.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

All Crossed Up

The cool crisp air, the brightening trees, the amber fields and, the dew-soaked grass. To most people, these are sure signs of Fall. But to runners, these autumnal images can only mean one thing - cross country season is finally here! From the long, thin starting line, to the clusters of color-coded runners. From the leaf covered paths to the scattering of orange marking flags strewn along the course. Nothing gets your competitive juices flowing like a good, old-fashioned cross country meet!

The thrill of the chase
Cross-country running is perhaps the oldest sport known to man, reaching back to our ancestral hunters and gatherers, messengers in ancient Rome, and the pursuits of excellence in the early Olympic Games. Unique in its team concept, cross-country racing affords the camaraderie of teammates while testing one’s own limits in running over hill & dale, through forested trails, across farmers’ fields and over rocks, mud & hay bales.

Oftentimes, we reach a plateau in our road running - where merely putting one foot in front of the other on the same road, day after day, mile after mile, no longer gives us the “runner’s high” we once felt. A special feeling comes to harriers who have pushed themselves to the limits, on a hilly course, in extreme weather, with their team depending on their effort & result. For many, cross-country running can present a whole new challenge. So this year, I decided to take that challenge and mix some XC races into my usual autumn running routine.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hanging Tuff

Riding high on the comeback wave I headed down to Saugus last weekend for the Tuff Ten Trail Race. Wait?! A trail race in Saugus!? Who knew Saugus had trails?! Yup, right off Route 1. Just past the “Ship” and the “Leaning Tower of Pizza” is Breakheart Reservation. A 640-acre hardwood forest with jagged, rocky outcroppings, two fresh-water lakes, and a rambling section of the Saugus River. I know, surprised the heck out of me too!