There are several goals that I am keeping in mind for this training period between actual marathon training cycles:
- Maintain aerobic fitness, minimize fitness loss as much as possible, or possibly even improve aerobic fitness without running, using various cross-training methods (ARC trainer, elliptical, cycling, aqua jogging, and swimming).
- Resting my bones while they recover from fall marathon training by not running.
- Strengthening various muscle weaknesses and imbalances, such as my hips, glutes, pelvic floor, and core.
- Lose about ten pounds to get back to racing weight.
With that in mind, my plan for this training cycle is to do at least five hours of cardio cross-training each week to replace the time spent running. I will focus mainly on ARC trainer, which best replicates running motion, then elliptical and bike, and occasionally swimming and aqua jogging. Since I don’t have unlimited pool visits, I must use the pool judiciously. This recent study that I read suggests that elliptical workouts can help to maintain most running fitness, and I suspect that ARC trainer and cycling could also do the same. In fact, I believe that if I am able to significantly increase the time spent cross-training over what I would normally spend running, and incorporate scheduled high-intensity workouts, I may be able to possibly increase my Vo2 max during this time without doing any running.
I also plan to do several different strengthening exercises each week to work on areas of weakness, at least 3 lower body workouts each week, and at least 2 upper body and core workouts. I plan to alternate each day with upper or lower body workouts.
Obviously, no running at all during this time period as mentioned above. I haven’t had any pain while running, but there is some slight tenderness if I press hard on my upper left tibia. I want to give this area plenty of time to strengthen before I attempt any more serious training.
And lastly, I need to lose some weight. I don’t have a goal weight in mind, but I have gained 12 lbs since July, and I’m sure that has affected my running. Now is the best time to focus on cutting carbs and calories from my diet since I won’t be doing any running. I probably won’t cut calories too significantly though, as I will still be burning quite a bit with the extra cross-training, so I will play it week to week with the goal of losing around 1 to 1 1/2 lbs per week until mid-January, which should result in a loss of about 6 to 9 lbs, putting me closer to my weight from last summer.