Crossing Over

I was once the quintessential gym rat.

The gym was my happy place.  A place where I could elliptical, lift and take a myriad of classes to my heart’s content.

The gym was my escape.  It was a place where I needed only to focus on my body.  And for years I have allowed myself membership at one of the most luxurious fitness chains in the world.

It has been well worth it.

These days, however, I use the gym a bit less.  Where I once went six times each week, I now go only three or four.  It is because my focus has shifted to running — an activity that I believe is best done outdoors.

Now the roads and trails are my happy place, and the gym is where I go to cross-train.

I take a mix of classes (usually yoga, pilates and barre each once per week) and use the cables once each week (I keep 10 lb dumbells at home for additional strength training); but I spend most of my gym time on an elliptical machine.

The elliptical was once my favorite equipment at the gym.  I could stay on for hours, never tiring of the different programs or resistance and incline options.  But suddenly, I’m less enthused.

My Saturday afternoon elliptical session was fabulous.  I was happy the whole time.  But I assume that was because it was a very gentle workout, which was just what I needed upon my return to the gym after more than a week away.

This morning, however, I just couldn’t get in to it.  I stayed on for a 40 minute cross-training session and followed that up with 200 ball crunches.  I felt great afterwards, sure.  But for the first time in a long time, I felt that I needed something more.

The elliptical has long been my cross-training crutch, but after more than a month of running daily, the elliptical just doesn’t have the same luster as a brisk outdoor run before work.  That could change.  The elliptical could once again be my refuge.  Today’s lackluster workout could merely have been because I didn’t choose the most challenging setting (or, more likely, because my gym’s morning playlist didn’t exactly consist of what I would think of as “high energy” music).

I want to find a morning workout routine for my “rest days” that will challenge my body and mind in the same way that running does.

I am thinking of trying a more dynamic strength training routine.  I may have to give that a shot on Friday morning.

Also, a good friend has been pushing me to try a Soul Cycle class with her for weeks.  I may have to relent.

What are some of your favorite ways to cross-train?  Swimming, spinning, strength training, skating, elliptical-ing?

For more information on the benefits of cross-training for runners, check out these articles:

The Best Cross-Training for Runners (

Cross-Training for Runners (

Smart Marathon Training:  Which Kinds of Cross-Training Are Best For Runners  (

Four Approaches To Cross-Training For Runners (

One thought on “Crossing Over

  1. Pingback: Back to the Mat « Rachel On and On

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