Wednesday, February 29, 2012

And I'm back!

After four weeks of crutches and swimming then biking then elliptical, I ran for the first time this morning! It was only for 3 miles in around 30 minutes and that means that with six and a half weeks to the marathon I still have a ton of work to do, but I'm healed and taking it one step at a time.

Now when the trainer told me to do the elliptical so that I could see how my foot did with a weight bearing exercise, I cringed. I hate the elliptical. I don't really like cardio machines to begin with but at least the bike and treadmill involve two of my sport's disciplines so I put up with them if its a super hot day in Texas or ridiculously cold in New England. But, I know a lot of people aren't runners and actually do like the elliptical, so I came up with a good workout using the elliptical that had my legs actually sore the next day.

The Elliptical machine workout:
I did 30 minutes on the elliptical on the interval setting then a five minute cool down.
Then I did a simple circuit of three exercises, three sets each.

First: Kettlebell swings. Those Russian kettlebells you see people swinging around in the gym might seem super intimidating but don't worry, its not as complicated as you may think. The link gives really good step by step instructions but my tips are to try to keep in mind this isn't a squat and you should not be using your arms that much. It is really a motion in your hips and involves really activating your glutes. I do between 20-30 swings per set, less if your form goes.

Second: Overhead Squat with a barbell or with no weight. If you need to start with less weight than the bar, sometimes the gym has 5 or 10 lbs rods that work well or in the link provided a woman starts out with a towel. Don't think because you've done squats with weight on your shoulders before means that you'll be able to do this squat easily. This is a challenging exercise as it really involves your core, keep your reps low to start 10-20 per set and form is crucial, especially if you are holding weight over your head.

Third: Hamstring curls on a stability ball. Find a mat and one of the giant exercise balls and you're all set. This bodyweight exercise can test your balance but just make sure your glutes are engaged the whole time. You can do 20 of these or break it up into 10 or 15 of these and 10 to 15 hip thrusts where there is no curling motion.

Then repeat each of those two more times, stretch and have a healthy snack!

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