Could Basketball Be Good Cross-training for Marathon Training? Experts Weigh In

As far as fitness and working out goes, basketball has always been my first love.

photo credit: Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina - Wikimedia Commons

photo credit: Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina – Wikimedia Commons

From playing until after dark as a kid, to playing pickup games nearly every day in college, I loved playing the game. When I decided to run my first half marathon in 2009, I was still playing basketball with c0-workers two to three times a week. At the time, I felt like basketball would be a good compliment to my running.

As I looked into half marathon training programs, I ended up settling on Hal Higdon’s novice program. As I dug deeper into Hal’s site and forums, I discovered that he wasn’t a big fan of mixing basketball and half marathon training. “It’s not a matter of if you get injured, it’s a matter of when” was Hal’s was clear warning on the subject.
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Is Skipping a Run Really That Bad?

The short answer to that question is yes.

The plethora of training programs you can find in books and online are filled with tempo runs, speed workouts, long runs and cross training days for a specific reason – to get you ready to run your best race.

If you start selectively picking and choosing which workouts you want to do, you could be tempting fate on race day.

Having said that, most people probably aren’t professional runners. Life can throw you a curve from time to time and that 5:00 AM run you planned to get in before work may not happen if you’re nursing a sick kid back to health, you have to unexpectedly travel for work or any other countless variable that you might encounter. The fact is, even the best laid training schedules will have to work around other events in your life from time to time.

So what happens when life gets in the way and you miss a workout?
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4 Reasons Why I Prefer Hot Yoga

My first yoga class was a prenatal yoga class in 2005. It was slow, unheated, seemingly built strength, and alleviated pain in areas I didn’t know existed. It was good. For whatever reason, I didn’t take another yoga class until 2007. It was hot yoga. When I got back from class P.J. said: “Your face is so red. Are you sure you’re okay?”  Okay?! I couldn’t wait to get back. Here’s why:

Flexibility

In my first hot yoga class, I could barely touch my toes without feeling pain in my hamstrings and lower back. I learned to bend my knees more and breathe deeply into the posture. After many classes I was able to increase the flexibility in my hamstrings – I had to keep going back to class and be patient with my body. My mantra: In due time.

Focus & Patience

Speaking of “due time”…. At first, I would set up my mat in the back row watching the advanced practitioners bend into fancy postures and I could still barely stand on one leg. I would quickly compare. Over time, I focused inward on poses, on my state of mind, on me. My mantra: Long, slow breaths.

Sweat

The first time I felt the burning sensation of sweat dripping in my eyes when I was in a forward fold was seriously uncomfortable. BUT! After I got used to the sweat dripping everywhere, I realized that sweat was cooling me down — and actually detoxifying. Whatever I put in my body the night before, was dripping on my towel (gross!).  My mantra: deal with the sweat.

It’s like a drug: I keep going back

People may disagree with this, and perhaps it’s psychological for me, but I swear….the heat helps me get into postures easier (also, following a plant-based diet helps too). Within hours after completing a hot yoga class, my body feels energized, healthy, strong, flexible. Within 12 hours I psychotically look at the schedule for when I can get back. My mantra: get me back in the heat.

Hot yoga may not be for everyone, but I encourage all to try 10 classes of hot yoga in a row. It just may change your practice and will open your mind to other ways of stretching, meditating, strengthening, twisting, smiling, and living.

 

How To Get Motivated To Run When You Don’t Feel Like It

If you’ve run long enough, at some point you’ve had the feeling that you just didn’t want to go out on a particular run. Maybe there was a time when turning off your alarm and rolling back into your sheets sounded like the best thing ever. Or maybe it was early in the week and you rationalized that you could postpone your run because you have time to make it up later in the week.  Or maybe you don’t have a race coming up and it’s easy to convince yourself that you can miss a workout here and there.

Or maybe you just wussed out.

Image Courtesy of Feelart; freedigitalphotos.net

Image Courtesy of Feelart; freedigitalphotos.net

Regardless of the reason, every runner has felt like not running at some point.

So what’s it going to take to get you up and out the door? Why are you – the person who at some point made the conscious decision to label yourself a “runner” going to follow through with that decision? The next time your motivation is running low, remind yourself of these three things:

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Why I Don’t Go To The Gym and 3 Reasons You Probably Don’t Need To Either

For a long while, I considered taking advantage of the discount a local gym offers my company. It was relatively cheap, close to work and I figured it would be a great way to build up the cross training portion of any race training I would be doing. For reasons I couldn’t put my finger on, I never could pull the trigger on joining the gym.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear John Pierre, trainer to Ellen DeGeneres, countless CEOs, musicians and other celebrities, give a talk and he made not going to the gym sound like a good thing. Pierre talked a lot more about fitness and nutrition than what I’ll cover here, but here are some of the take a ways:
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