I'm approaching my 4-year run-iversary in early September, and during that time, I've never been one to cross-train. The way I figured it, I was a runner. Runners run. That's all I need, right?
And when I got injured early on, it was "no running; no going". I'd eventually get out of fitness while recovering, and back to square one I'd go.
But this time, I decided to take it to the next level. When I was dealt the double whammy in June, Plantar Fasciitis followed by mild calf cramps, I decided that I'd take the bike out more often. I was already logging some bike miles since Bike-To-Work day in May, but with the injury, I ramped it up and made it more of a workout. I got myself up to a consistent 12-to-13 m.p.h. pace on my rides, and did at least 10 miles each time out. Reston is naturally hilly, so I even get some hill work in without even trying.
What I have come to realize, after looking at my splits from last week's 5K PR, is that the 25 or so miles of cycling I'm doing each week has actually strengthened my legs, rather than tiring them out. As a result, I was able to power my way up hills in the race and keep a more consistent and faster pace than I normally had in the past.
So I'm now a convert to cross-training; the benefits have been, well, beneficial to me the past 2 months. I'm going to keep up with my 2 cycle sessions per week, at least as long as it's light in the mornings. Maybe, just maybe, I'll gain a few seconds that I can use in the Marine Corps Marathon in October.