Chocolate and Wildair

For all sports, running is a focus ingredient. What would baseball, soccer, football, basketball, or even wrestling be without the ability to run, move quickly, and adjust to a faster speed on the force of will? If you ask runners, there is nothing like running. It is the ultimate exercise that enhances all other forms of exercise.

Conversely, one could ask, what is the value of training in other sports for a runner? In a nut shell, the value is immense. All runners recognize the possibility of injury and how that would affect their capacity to win a competition for weeks, if not months to come. Running is a sport that creates an overbalance in certain areas of the body. The legs, of which the quads are a part, are developed well beyond the muscles of other parts of the body. A quad complex that is overdeveloped will pull at the hamstrings, often causing injuries that are long-lasting and hard to come back from. Running also neglects the upper torso creating an imbalance between the upper body and the lower body. There is also the boredom factor that exercise in a single regimen can produce.

All runners want to run to build endurance and cardiovascular strength. Aerobic exercise in any form will supplement this development. A particularly fine source of cross-training exercise is pool running. Running in water helps to keep the heart-rate down while forcing the runner to work harder to achieve success. A runner can achieve success by either taking it at a given tempo for a long period of time, or by forcing a faster speed through the pool for a shorter amount of time. Either way the benefits are enormous as the runner’s body adjusts to forcing itself against the muffling power of water. This exercises more than just the running muscles. The swimmers muscles also come into play causing development of muscles well beyond those required for running. And when the body runs in open air, it feels effortless compared to pool running.

Another great cross-training exercise for runners is weight-lifting or CrossFit. A focus on multi-joint, compounded lifts that contribute to fiber build-up is best. Of course it is extremely wise to get a pair of the CrossFit shoes designed to work a lot better to prevent injury. Wait a minute. What about endurance? That is what running develops. With weight-lifting a runner is developing muscle mass throughout the body. The body works in unison. Any runner knows how a weakness in the shoulder will cause pain that sucks energy from the body while running. This is also true of any other parts of the body. The back, the neck, the hips, the abdomen, and so many other muscle groups can hamper running if they are not kept in shape.

Road cycling also is beneficial to the runner. Though many think of this exercise as being mostly a leg driving operation, many other muscle groups are involved. Yes, it is true that power from the legs drive the cycle, however, these muscles are augmented by the back and the abdomen to an immense degree when road cycling. Also, it is important to note that road cycling will develop other muscles in the legs than those principally used when running. Such exercise balances the leg muscles so that the muscle group works in tandem effectively reducing the chance for injury.

Utilizing these three additional cross-training exercise formats will improve the ability of the runner. As in any other part of our lives, cross-training is an essential element that will help to alleviate any injuries and reduce boredom that exercising to the tune of one drummer can cause.

CrossFit is the best training program to help anyone, from the seasoned athlete to the seasoned couch potato, get into the best shape of his or her life.

I found this recently first hand when I took it up!

Best Apps for CrossFitUnlike most exercise routines, which focus only on one or two things, be it strength, weight loss, endurance, or muscle building, CrossFit works on a multitude of athletic qualities. Start training CrossFit and stick with it and you can expect to get stronger, faster, more flexible, more mobile, have more endurance, and improve your body composition significantly.

There are additional features of CrossFit that set it apart from other workout programs as well. Its competitive aspect and constantly varied workouts will keep you excited about going to the gym and will prevent your workout routine from going stale.

As with any workout routine, you will see better results if you set concrete goals and document your training as you set out to achieve those goals. In the old days, we used to carry note pads and pens to the gym and log our weights and reps, tracking our progress from week to week. Nowadays, there are numerous smartphone apps which make it much easier to track your progress, and best of all, many of them are free. The following are the best free workout apps specific to CrossFit.

iWOD Fitness

This is one of the best free apps out there to track your CrossFit progress. iWOD Fitness has an impressive database of CrossFit "benchmark" workouts. These are specific workouts designed to be repeated every so often as a method of measuring how much your fitness level has improved. This app also gives you the ability to program your own workouts and results. This is very helpful for athletes who like to keep a log of what they do on a daily basis at the box (CrossFit vernacular for gym). iWOD Fitness also enables you to keep track of your max lifts on various weightlifting exercises, such as the squat, deadlift, clean and jerk, and snatch. That way, you can always refer to your app to know what your current PRs are. Best of all, iWOD Fitness includes a variety of timers, such as a traditional timer starting at zero, countdown timers for AMRAPs, and twenty-second-on, ten-second-off timers for Tabata intervals.


While iWOD Fitness is the top free app for tracking your CrossFit results, Ubersense is a must-have if you care about improving your form on various CrossFit exercises. Ubersense is a video recording app that goes way beyond a simple smartphone video recorder. It allows you to play back the videos you record in half-speed, quarter-speed, and even one-eighth speed so you and your coach can analyze where you went right and where you went wrong on a technical lift, such as a snatch or clean and jerk. It also enables you to record two separate videos and play them back side-by-side simultaneously. This lets you juxtapose a missed lift with a made lift and note the subtle differences in form which caused one to be successful and the other a failure.

Pocket WOD

This is a newer app for the iPhone. It is free and it contains many of the same features as iWOD Fitness. With its most recent updates, some reviewers online now claim that it has more capabilities and an easier-to-use interface than its more reputable counterpart. Since they are both free, it cannot hurt to download both to your phone, test drive them, and decide for yourself which is for you!

Running 10kYou're running your first 10k, putting yourself out there for a total of 6.2 miles, and you're not sure what to expect. You've been training, eating right, and getting into great physical shape in preparation for the race. Actually running a competitive 10k over a wide range of terrain for the first time can be intimidating. It doesn't need to be, however, if you know what to expect and plan accordingly. The following discusses what you can expect from your first 10k, some obstacles you may encounter, and some tips to help you run a great race.

Make a Plan

Before the race even starts you'll need to be well prepared. You should walk or bike the course a day or two before the actual race if possible. You'll get a mental picture of the course and be able to plan your run according to the elevations, bends, etc. that you'll encounter throughout the race. On the day of the race arrive early so you'll have time to stretch or use the restroom if necessary. Lines in front of the port-a-pots can get long. Finally, don't wear anything new on the race day. The last thing you want is chafing or blisters from new apparel that isn't broken in yet.

The First Mile

The speed at the beginning of a 10k will vary from race to race. But there will likely be a certain amount of chaos as soon as the gun goes off. More experienced runners will be attempting to get a good position at the start so they can set their pace. The first mile of the race is when everyone will be packed in tight. You'll need to watch for other runners so you don't get jostled or elbowed. If it's raining, parts of the road like paint stripes can be slippery. Most important, don't start out too fast for your first race. Your adrenaline will be surging, but resist the urge to race to the front of the pack and run the risk of burning out during the last few miles.

The Second and Third Mile

After the first few miles the packed-in crowd that was there at the beginning should have thinned out and you can settle into your own pace. You'll need to listen or look for your time at the end of mile one. Do some mental calculations to see if you're running according to plan. By the halfway mark a lot of people will get a mental boost at this point. You'll be thirsty but try not to drink too much water during the race. Low blood sodium can occur if you're drinking too much liquid.

The Last Half of the Race

This is the point where you may start to drag. You'll likely be fatigued at the four mile point but you've still got a fair amount of the race left to go. This may be the point in the course where you'll want family and friends who come out to encourage you to be stationed. Some runners advise not to drink anymore water by the fifth mile in the race. The last mile is when you want to give everything you've got left so you can finish strong. In general, you'll want to go faster during the last half of the race. This is why pacing yourself the first few miles is so crucial. Finishing your first 10k is quite an accomplishment and will be exhilarating. Consuming some calories and completing a sufficient cool down is crucial after the race.