How I got back into Les Mills/Cross Training – Part 1

I am them. We are very comfortable, getting up and planning our runs for the week, and sticking to our plan. We have no problem coming back from work change into our running clothes and head out and log a 6 mile and go home to go on with rest of our day! We would do that in our sleep! That is because that is the kind of runners we are! We love our sport! Each of us probably found running at some point in our life where it resonated with whatever was going on with our life, and now we can’t think of our day and week without getting few runs in.

Few months ago, as I looked through my Strava and felt very impressed with how consistent I have kept up my weekly runs and distance each month at 100+ miles, I also realized that is all I had been doing. 3 runs a week. I average at 20 miles a week, and some weeks more miles and some weeks more speed, but it averages out to be 20+ miles, and at least 3+ runs. I train with others who have similar goals, so it has become a second nature to me to not over think about my training plan/goals. One thing I have been observing is how my runs are getting hard, and even tho I run my heart out, I don’t think I feel as fit as I should for the miles I run. I always feel weak, and tired, and something is always hurting – not in a good pain kind of way if that even makes sense! I went through my last few years work out routine and what I was doing at different times and I realized, I felt better in terms of fitness when I did my weight classes. Mind you , I use the word ‘better’ as in ‘feeling better’ not looking skinny. Running does make you skinny but feeling fit and better is lot more than looking skinny.

So I decided to figure out how to cross train effectively. I relied on going to 24 hour fitness, and doing Les Mills Bodypump(Weight Training class), Body Combat(Cardio Class), and GRIT classes( a 30min cross training class on steroid either weight focused on plyometrics focused ) for cross training, but one reason I stopped Les Mills Classes, or 24 hour group classes in general is the logistics around planning for those classes.

I start work at 6:30am, which means I need to be in bed by 9pm! My evening hours go by so fast, but most of the gym classes are after 5:30pm. I can’t bring myself to come back from work, drive to beat the traffic to make it to a 5:30 or later class, and drive back after the class. It was time consuming. Some of these classes are pretty popular where its so hard to get into unless you get there ahead of time. There had been days I couldn’t make the class because they ran out of tickets. Some days I would get the ticket, but people would get so petty and take up more space than they need and make you squeeze your work out in a corner space with no place to move around. And not all the classes are walk on the beach type positive classes. Unless you get one of the good instructor you are at the mercy of whoever in the hell is planned to show up! Any ways long story short, I just didn’t keep up with my les mills classes, nor did I plan on coming back to the gym to get some workout done. I despise the idea of having to go back to the gym!

I am blessed to have a two car garage, but not fortunate to have two cars! Take the lemon and make a lemonade, so I decided to turn the extra space into a gym. That was an easy place to start, but mind you , lot of these classes are easy to do as long as you have a 6ftx3ft space. I didnt do this indoors, because I didnt want to deal with the sweat, but if you dont have the luxury of space outside you could manage it indoor, with enough large mat.

I went ahead and bought bunch of weights/bars/resistance bands/large mat to go on the floor etc! These aren’t expensive, but within about $150. Its still reasonable than how much you pay for a trainer in a month!

I turned to YouTube for Les Mills Classes ( Even tho they have on-demand classes if you choose to). There are tons of videos from other qualified instructors(and good looking ones too!) that I had no problem finding Les Mills BodyPump/GRIT Strength and Les Mills Body Flow Videos online.

Here was the best part, as I started with my weight training I realized, what had been missing in my past years. Ability to effectively combine the right les mills classes between the running days to get the most out of the cross training. Since I am running with my group 3 days a week, and I get to pick and choose what and how I train on the non running days, I was able to pick and choose right amount of strength and cross training classes. It really freed me to make the best of both worlds. For an instance, I usually kept Sunday as my rest day, but now that I do weight training on my own, I realized right close to Sunday afternoon, its not that terrible to throw in a 30 min weight class or yoga class.

Initially I was worried – that throwing in a weight classes between runs, might slow me down, but I am finding, I am getting faster, and I have increased my distance contrary to what I thought I might do which is to go easy on my runs!

I will be writing about the Les Mills Classes, and what I purchased for my home gym, and how I do the classes in the next blog!

What do you do for your cross training! How do you keep your strength and fitness up while running distance!

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