after the half marathon this weekend, i am set up for a few months of serious cross training to get ready for my fall marathon, and i'm convinced that triathlon training is one of the best ways for runners to cross train. as a runner we use certain muscle groups over and over again, while the muscles that aren't directly worked can possibly atrophy to a certain extent. that's where triathlon training comes in for me.
swimming is an amazing core workout with serious booty, hamstring, and arm benefits. (i'm sure there a ton more, but i'm no doctor, so i'll list the ones i know) i find initially, that swimming is very difficult, as the aerobic (and anaerobic) demands are very high. but with a few weeks in the pool, the fitness comes very quickly. and at a vigorous effort, you burn the exact same amount of calories that you would running. the other great benefit of swimming is that there is ZERO impact on your joints. so for those of you who are injured, this is a great alternative. the strokes are very easy to learn (freestyle is the fastest, and widely used by triathletes), and there are also a lot of fun exercises you can do in the pool other than just laps. we'll ask kaylynn to maybe post a few of those.
cycling has really become jonathan's love. i watched him lose over thirty pounds climbing the hills in the bay area. while a more expensive sport to invest in, the rewards are amazing. i always complain to jona about my miss piggy legs (aka cankles) and his answer every time is "get on the bike!" and it's true. the man has calves of steel. he swears he's a successful marathoner because he's a cyclist.
so maybe give it a tri this summer. check out active.com for events in your area.