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

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cross-Training Conundrum

Am I the only person out there who actually stresses out about figuring out a workout schedule that also allows me time to eat and veg on the couch?

I sure hope not.

I skipped signing up for any gym classes this summer and, hence, I haven't done any cross-training other than the occasional 30 Day Shred workout and the occasional Swiss ball workout. While I admit I was enjoying doing the strength training on my own, I know that I won't stick to it for long that way. I thought about downloading a bunch of work out videos but I think I need a class to make me feel like I have to go. Case in point, I haven't done any of the videos I do have in the past week and a half! I could have. But, I didn't. I know, though, that cross-training is vital to my running. Plus, I feel like I'm on the verge of actually have some muscle definition and I'd like to keep it!

So, I'm trying to figure out a gym schedule that includes several classes. One thing I've learned, though, is that I don't love circuit training. So, pretty much anything that has me doing super high intense cardio for a few minutes followed by strength training for a few minutes for an hour total. I can handle the 30 Day Shred since it's only 20 minutes at a time, but I don't even love that all that much. I prefer to get my cardio and my strength training done separately.

This bring us to the spreadsheet!

Click to see full sized

Background: I work 9-5. I have a 45 minute commute each way. So, I leave the house at 8:15 and get home at 5:45. The only morning class that sort-of fits my schedule is a circuit class from 6-6:45. But I am NOT a morning person (as I think I've stated before).

So here's the deal: The running club in my area meets on Monday nights at 6:30. You can run either 5.5 miles or 8 miles with them. At least, that's what their website says. Now that I'm done with any official race training schedule I want to hook up with them. I'd probably stick to the 5.5 miles but might switch it up and do 8 if I'm feeling particularly good.

On Tuesday I can run at lunch either with coworkers or my running buddy, Kim. We typically do between 3 and 4 miles. But if I can't run at lunch for some reason (meetings, etc) then I could either skip cardio for the day or do it after work. There's also this Total Body Conditioning class at the gym I'm interested in. At least, I'm interested in it based on the description:

Total Body Conditioning
Advanced exercise class
• Challenging 1-hour workout
• Includes upper body, lower body, and core
strengthening exercises
• Requires higher level of ability.

I emailed the Fitness Coordinator to double check that it wasn't a circuit-based class and this is what she said: Total Body Conditioning does more body resistance, squats push-ups etc. It is very different from a regular class there is no coordination of moves to the beat of the music. It is a difficult class with not much cardio except for the warm up jumping jacks. So, that pretty much sounds like what I'm looking for. Again, if I don't run at lunch on Tuesday I could run after work either at home, outside, or, if I'm already at the gym I could do it there. Or do the elliptical.

Wednesday I actually have a few options. The first would be to do the Beginner's Yoga class at the gym from 6:30 to 7:50 (that's a long yoga class!) and not do any cardio that day. The other would be to run at home or outside. There aren't any other classes that interest me on Wednesday evening.

Thursday is similar to Tuesday in regard to running. If I run at lunch it would be between 3 and 4 miles. If I don't, that's okay because I would have a jam-packed evening at the gym. Pilates from 6-7 and then an adult swimming lesson class from 7:10-7:55. I could also just do Pilates and not take the swimming class. Instead I would do cardio afterward or, if I ran at lunch, just go home.

Friday is my rest day. Always.

Saturday I could hit up Total Body Conditioning again in the morning from 8-9 and get in some running or cardio time afterward. I have a standing appointment on Saturdays from 10:45-11:30 and I like getting my workout in beforehand. Now that I'm not running long (as in more than 8 miles) distances, I don't need to schedule 2-3 hours for running. Phew!

Sunday is flexible. I could do nothing. I could run. I could do a workout video. There aren't any classes that day anyway.

My biggest concern with this schedule is actually dinner. See how it's on there at 8PM most nights? Yeah, that would be pretty much when I was getting home. So, I have to either come up with things that are easy for Jason to make or things that are super-quick for me to make. And, I admit, I always feel guilty asking Jason to cook. He doesn't like cooking. I don't mind it. So, yeah, it's kind of my "job". But I don't want to make him wait until 9PM to eat dinner. Heck, I don't want to wait until 9PM to eat dinner!

So, I think the schedule might need a little tweaking. Any suggestions? If you want to check out the gym schedule, you can look at it here. Swim lessons are on page 18 and group fitness classes are on pages 25-27. Or if you just have suggestions for meals that are easy to make and then re-heat, leave those here, too!

I suppose, though, that it would only be for 8 weeks. If I find that one class or another just isn't doing it for me or that I want my evenings back, I can just not sign up for one during the next class session.


kristen said...

I recommend running with the running group for sure!! I have a couple of late dinner nights too (which I hate), but running with my group and getting home at 8:00 at night is so worth it!

I also recommend trying to become a morning person. You will feel so good all day knowing you got the workout done. Just try it for a couple of weeks and see what happens.

That body conditioning class sounds really cool. I don't know, it sounds like you have a lot of options.

Hilary said...

Reading your entry reminded me how much I used to fret over how to fit my hectic school and work life into my gym's workout schedule -and the time I spent commuting to and from the gym.

I'm currently training for the ING NYC Marathon and for the first time in years Do Not have a gym membership.

If you can, I would suggest running and cross-training outside as much as possible during the warmer Chicago seasons.

Kate said...

Regarding food, could you do some advanced cooking? I tend to cook on weekends and nights I don't work out so there are leftovers -- pretty easy to do with two people. Also, I have go-to quickie meals like Dr. Praeger's spinach pancakes with a little sour cream. Broil them for 16 minutes in the toaster oven and voila! I've also started pushing my meals later during the day so I'm not hungry at 6 p.m. I eat breakfast, have a snack around noon and eat lunch around 2 p.m. or 2:30 p.m.

Kate said...

Can I also say how excited I am that your blog is finally allowing my comments? Woo hoo!

kilax said...

I have heard of other people doing what Kate is suggesting - making a few things on the weekend to heat up during the week. Sounds like a great idea :)

Personally, I try not to commit my evenings to too much, so I would be more likely to sign up for two classes, or even the back-to-back pilates/swim night, because it gets so much done at once ;) So either that + running club, or yoga + running club. But... at the same time, the Conditioning class sounds good (if you're sure you're up for it. Ha ha!).

Some help I was ;)

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