A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year, New Schedule, New Cross-training

Photo courtesy of Oak Park YMCA website

When I lived in Champaign I developed a fitness routine that got me an hour and a half of workouts two days a week plus running three days a week and still allowed me to have dinner on the table by 7:30 PM most nights (with some help from the husband, of course). Getting off work at 4:30 and having no commute certainly helped.

Now, though, I get off work at 5:00 PM and have a 45-50 minute commute. This most recent fall I signed up for a class called "Ultimate Sculpt" (cardio combined with some strength training) that started at 7 PM and ended at 8 PM. My original plan was to come home from work, change into workout clothes, drive to the YMCA, do some cardio, and then head to class. Dinner wouldn't be served until after 8 PM but it's not like we have kids to feed before bedtime or anything.

However, Ultimate Sculpt kicked my butt and I just couldn't fathom doing additional cardio beforehand. Plus, by the time I changed and got to the gym I'd be lucky to get a half hour of cardio in before class. With this schedule I felt as though I was wasting a lot of time and not getting as much cross-training as I would have liked.

So now I've changed up my schedule a little bit. Tuesdays and Thursdays I plan to arrive at work a half hour earlier and then leave at 4:30 instead of 5:00. I've signed up for an hour-long Pilates class at the YMCA that starts at 6:00. After class I can jump on an elliptical trainer (see photo above) and get in my 30-45 minutes of cardio cross-training. I'll still get home around 8:00 PM but I've begun to adjust to eating dinner that late.

Last night was my first evening of this schedule. The Pilates instructor asked me if I'd ever done Pilates before. "Sort of," was my reply.

Turns out that I have. It's just that my class in Champaign didn't refer to it as such. My previous Core & More class, as well as the Ultimate Sculpt class, actually prepared me quite well for the exercises we did last night. After my first week of Core & More this time last year I wanted to cry because the moves were so difficult for me. Last night I did most of the moves with very little frustration. I find it amazing to learn what your body can do.

After class it was time to check out the elliptical machines. This was my first time in the fitness room at the YMCA. Sadly, they have half-hour limits on the machines and you have to sign-up for them in half-hour increments. Technically you're supposed to get off the machine at the 30 minute mark and re-sign up for the next 30 minutes if you want to be on longer. I figure I'll watch the behavior of the other patrons and see if people really follow these rules. Regardless, I behaved and only did 30 minutes last night. Plus, it's been almost six months since I've been on an elliptical machine and I didn't want to kill myself.

And although the YMCA membership is twice as expensive as my previous gym membership, it does come with additional perks. For instance, each elliptical machine has its own television. How cool is that?