A cross-training plan for January

Inspired by a lingering case of plantar fasciitis and  the legions of FitBit evangelists who’ve emerged during the holidays, my plan for January is temporarily switching from a running-based fitness plan to one that emphasizes four mini workouts per day.

Even during my most grueling marathon training, I’ve often been struck by how sedentary I can be when I’m not running. Another problem is that I rarely stick with yoga or strength-building workouts, so while my legs are strong my upper body is neglected. My hope is that while recovering from this injury I’ll build up a routine where it feels natural and energy-inducing to add some focused movement throughout the day. And if at least one of those workouts gets me pretty sweaty, or happens to run longer than 15 minutes, that works for me.

Here are some options I want to try:

The treadmill challenge:  Last week the Y had a contest to see what distance could be achieved in 15 minutes on a treadmill at the maximum 15% incline. The winner, a kid my son’s age, got 1.20 miles. My first attempt, walking 4 mph with a couple of 4.6 mph minutes, got me to 1.03. I went back and walked 4.5 mph with four 5.5 mph minutes, but ran out of gas before I got to the fifth 5.5 mph minute that would’ve pushed me into the lead. I feel like I can either come up with a better recipe or learn to push through it. But one way or another, I’m going to keep trying to beat that mark on my own, because that’s one heck of a calorie burn.


Rowan inspired all of us by working out every single day she was home for the holidays. 

Rowan’s 6-minute yoga abs workout: I got this off my oldest daughter’s Pinterest page. With only two sets of four poses, this  seems like something simple enough I could memorize:

  1. 30-second high plank
  2. 30 second boat
  3. Warrior three (30 seconds each leg)
  4. Side plank (30 seconds each side)

Though I can’t necessarily hold each pose for 30 seconds each right now, I’m going to work at it. After getting used to having Rowan around last week, maybe doing this workout will help me miss her less after we take her to the airport today.

Body weight circuit workout: This workout I got from Nerd fitness feels like a good fit in that I prefer workouts, like recipes, to be simple enough that I can memorize them. This one calls for two sets of the following:

  • 20 squats.
  • 10 push ups.
  • 20 walking lunges.
  • 10 dumbbell rows (each arm)
  • 15 second plank.
  • 30 Jumping Jacks.

Because I hate jumping jacks, I prefer doing those first to get them out of the way. (Customizing a workout also helps make it feel less like “somebody else’s bad idea.”)

Cycling intervals: The Tabata Takedown calls for a 20-second stationary bike “sprint” followed by 10 seconds recovery times 10, with 3 to 5 minutes easy pedaling before doing two more sets. If I have time, I’ll do the full workout with a few minutes warmup and cooldown. But if I really only have 15 minutes, then I could do a 5 minute warmup, one set of intervals, and a 5-minute cooldown.



Bonny Damocles

An easier version of Bonny’s stair-climbing sessions: Bonny Damocles has kept his diabetes at bay without drugs for 25 years by climbing stairs four times a day. (He used to run them, then switched to 15-minute walking sessions because it was safer while still getting his heart rate up.) I’ve had a hard time motivating myself to climb stairs multiple times a day, but walking on the treadmill at an incline can apparently provide the same benefit. (For me, this type of treadmill incline will differ from the “treadmill challenge” described above because I’ll walk at an easier pace.)

I’ll also do some light jogging, but probably not more than a couple of times a week as I allow my foot to heal. It will be interesting to see whether any of these workouts become a part of my regular routine after I go back to running on a regular basis. If so, maybe dealing with this injury will have been a plus in the long run.

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3 Responses to A cross-training plan for January

  1. bgddyjim says:

    How did the cycling intervals go? I’ve got a 21 minute interval that works something like that and it SUCKS… but in a good way. 😉

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