Cross-training during marathon training

Hiking is good for leg strength

This week was great – both training and weather-wise. It was over 20 degrees in the beginning of the week and above 30 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I tried to include as much training as possible to be able to get into peak form before a race in a couple of weeks.

Also, my wetsuit finally arrived and I am now able to make those early morning swims at 6-7 am. Otherwise, the water is quite cold so early.

I was able to mix together 3 morning swims, 5 runs, several bike commutes and one hike this week.

I found that when I go for a run after 20-30 minute bike ride at easy pace (HR 120-130) I can breathe easier and can hold the pace better. Haven’t checked that for a long run, though.

Swimming is perfect for general endurance and muscle development – it targets all body and it doesn’t have the vibration/impact that running gives. So it’s better on your joints and also good for developing lung capacity. Double power!

I also did first speed workouts – it was 400m intervals with 400m rest in between. Those were really tough – I thought I would be able to keep up the speed, but after 2 intervals things got hard.

I did a couple of recovery runs just to put in more kilometers to compensate the lack of bike this week (I took the subway several times) and also did a short steady run – just 6kms. It’s not as much as you would expect in preparation for a marathon, but I didn’t feel like running more that day and I have a short race upcoming soon. I will eventually move forward towards 10K and 15K, to really improve the speed endurance, but for now I’ll stick to it.

I also did a first 2-hour-long run on Saturday and was pretty impressed that I was able to maintain an average pace of 5:15 throughout the whole run. I also did not push myself too hard and focused only on the heart rate, instead of speed.

Finally, I went hiking on Sunday to get additional time outside the city and enjoy the view. My legs were not that tired the day after the long run, so I decided – why not. I have a sprint race soon, so I need to get as much training as possible before a short taper.

All in all, long-distance event preparation is much more about how long do you work out and not how hard. In races of over an hour it’s about 80% endurance and 20% explosive power (the longer the race, the less explosive power you need and, hence, the less intense training is needed). In marathon it’s even less – 95% about endurance and 5% for some hills and finish spurts.

I feel quite good about this week – first week of hard training. I did in total around 8 hours of balanced training both in terms of sport variety and intensity.

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