My plan: A week of cross-training to allow my hip, which has moved from stubbornly sore to possibly injured, time to heal. I hope to swim, bike and row my way through a running-less week, losing none of my running fitness in the process.
Sound like I’m dreaming? Hey, it worked for Alberto Salazar!
The running legend qualified for the Olympic team in the 10,000m in 1980 after taking a two-month hiatus from running, relying on swimming as his primary activity following an IT band injury.
This, according to a great spread about cross-training in this month’s Running Times. The feature also includes some helpful tips for rowing, which I’ve been trying to incorporate based on suggestions from the FIRST training program.If you’re using an “erg,” as the rowing machines at the gym are apparently called, you may want to read the whole RT story.
The takeaway: According to former college rower Kelly Johnson, who’s quoted in the story, proper technique involves making sure you’re isolating your three major rowing muscle groups, and engaging them in the proper order: your leg muscles first, then your back, then your arms. Also, she says most people find a stroke rate of 18 to 26 comfortable.
I also might give cycling another try. I was pretty hard-core about cycling when I first started my hip-injury recovery, going on enough long rides to purchase two pairs of hideous padded bike shorts. Almost as soon as I bought them, biking became painful, too, and if I’m gonna hurt myself, I’m gonna hurt myself doing something worth the pain — i.e., running. But writing a story for Kickstand magazine, a cool mag about cruiser bikes that debuted this month, may have inspired me to give low-key, easy cycling a try.
My story was about Robin Little, owner of Bikes and Bites, a cruiser-bike rental company, who says: “We’re not doing this as an ‘Oh my God, how are we going to make a living’ venture,” Little said. “We just want to see how a two-wheel cruiser bike can contribute to the betterment of our city. When you’re motivated by passion and fun, it’s always easier to wake up in morning, no?”
And, of course, swimming. Here’s what I’m hoping the next several days look like:
Today: Swim 3,000 yards, lift (only exercises from my old physical-therapy routine for legs)
Friday: Swim 3,000 yards
Saturday: Lift, swim 4,500 yards (last long-ish swim before the Bay Bridge Swim!)
Sunday: See if Steve will take a long bike ride with me, or row 30 minutes
Monday: Swim 3,000 yards
Tuesday: Try running again. If my hip still feels as bad as it does now, it’s time to see the doctor again.