Cross Training

ClassPass is Worth Every Penny

By Jessica Green

Last month I fell in love with ClassPass. If you’re like me, and looking for assistance in getting your butt to a cross training class, you will love ClassPass too. 

After completing the NYC Marathon last fall, I took some time off from running and cross-trained a bit (once or twice a week). But, in all honesty, as soon as my three weeks off from running were done, I dropped all strength work and returned to the trails as my exclusive form of exercise. After two months of pretty much zero strength training, I was left with a weak everything. Then I started ClassPass and for the last four weeks, I’ve spent at least two days a week adding strength classes to my weekly routine and I already feel like a stronger, healthier runner. Plus, I’ve found some pretty awesome classes in Portland!

What is ClassPass? “ClassPass is a monthly membership to the best boutique fitness classes in your city. There are thousands of classes available to ClassPass members, including cycling, pilates, yoga, strength training, dance, martial arts, and more. For $79 - $99 a month (price varies by city), ClassPass members get unlimited classes to studios in the ClassPass network. While members can take as many classes per month as they'd like, they can visit the same studio up to 3 times per monthly membership cycle.”

The best part of ClassPass for me is that I have a nontraditional work schedule and ClassPass allows me to find classes at anytime of the day by searching only one site. On ClassPass’ website and app, I can search for a specific type of activity by time (and location) and come up with several different class options at various studios throughout Portland. Once I choose my class, all I have to do is click “reserve” and I’m good to go.

No more remembering my log in information for each studio’s mindbody account.  No more hunting down class schedules and whether there is space. Also, no more wondering where a good studio is. I trust ClassPass to partner with quality studios and this way I’m way more inclined to try out new places.

The other best part – it’s completely worth your money. All you need to do is show up to six to seven classes in a month that each cost $15 each and you’ve made your money back. Chances are, with ClassPass, you’re going to show up to more than that and it’s likely that your classes are more expensive than $15! They make it so easy that you WILL go.  And you won’t get sick of any one particular class because you have access to what feels like a million others. 

Finally, while some might not like that you are limited to 3 classes per month at a studio, it’s perfect for those who like to change things up from week to week or can only seem to make one time a week at a particular studio. This way, you have access to the cheaper monthly rate for those 3 classes, plus a cheaper rate for all the other places that offer classes at different times on days you can make. 

New to ClassPass in Portland? Try 2 months of ClassPass for $79 (The typical price of 1 month).

Raising the Barre

Today, Coach Bex talks about her cross-training and why she has incorporated barre classes into her training. Have questions for her? Email her: Bex@hotbirdrunning.com

I regularly get asked by clients what they should do on days they aren't running. Cross-training is an essential part of the training process, and should not be neglected. While the answer "anything but running" is true, it's also not very specific. Strength training is important, and I also try to incorporate spin and yoga into my routine, but recently my favorite cross-training activity is barre. A Pure Barre studio opened up in my neighborhood a few months ago. Having never taken a barre class before, I didn't know what to expect. What I found was 55 minutes of tiny, isolated movements focusing on individual parts of the body, and a crazy soreness to follow the next day. I was hooked. I signed up for an unlimited month and fell in love. That was during my off-season. These days, while training, I like to hit a barre class 1-2x/week.

One thing I like about Pure Barre is that it is low-impact. Barre classes combine elements of pilates, ballet, and yoga along with an arm workout with light weights. This means that I can take a class on the same day as a shorter run, as it won't stress my body too much. It's especially good for core work. Runners often neglect the strength aspect of their training. Barre classes are a great way to get in the strength work and feel graceful while doing it. Plus I always like being in a class, the instructors motivate you to push yourself and embrace your strength. I highly recommend looking in your area to see which barre offerings are available to you!

A New Type of Marathon Goal

by Jessica Green

While Meghan tackles the first few weeks of marathon training for the Portland Marathon on October 5th, I am re-committing to some type of cross training on a regular basis before my training for the NYC marathon on November 2nd kicks into high gear at the end of July.  Although I've been sucessful with some core work almost 5 times a week, it's not quite the same as a full 45-60 minute workout that has nothing to do with running. I'm talking about something like yoga, Pilates, biking or a conditioning class. 

In the past, my best races seem to correlate with periods of time where I am committed to my cross training activities at least once a week. These are also periods where I tend to feel the least tight, the strongest and most comfortable in my body and mind. Over the last month, the warmer temperatures and a busier schedule have taken an toll on my body and my cross training. I feel tight and weak and my running feels heavy. 

The solution, as I tell clients over and over again, is to do something else besides just running. Time to heed my own advice!  There's no way I'm going to make it to the finish line in one piece on November 2nd if I don't clean up my act and find something that will get me cross training regularly. So, this July, my goal is to take an hour-long class 1x/week that doesn't involve any running. This will take precedence over that extra day of running that I usually end up leaning towards.  I challenge those of you in my same position to do the same with the ultimate goal being that the routine continues through all of marathon training. 

Looking for the right type of cross training class or activity? Ask us to help you sift through the options to find the one that's the best fit for you. 

 

We Love...Cross Training

Over the next week, we are featuring things, products, races, classes and places we love. Let us know how you love to cross train in the comments section!

Running is our go-to activity however we love checking out classes and cross training activities.  Besides being a vital part of any running schedule, cross training is fun! It makes your muscles and mind work differently.

One of our favorite ways to cross train is to hit some of NYC’s amazing studios and gyms and take classes from instructors who inspire us and make us like a sweaty indoor 60 minute class. We’ve found some kick-ass classes in other cities during our travels as well. Here are a few that we love.

  • Fitness/Cardio Classes
    • Liz Lefrois is our go-to instructor. She teaches at Equinox locations in NYC. She’s fun and offers a challenging class
  • Spin Classes
    • Gregg Cook  is our FAVE instructor. You feel like an athlete in his classes, which we love.
    • Soul Cycle and FlyWheel are fun, sweaty classes
    • Best option - get outside and ride in Central Park or Prospect Park
  • Bar Classes
    • Physique 57 is a fast paced class that leaves you sweaty and tone.
    • Bar Method is a bit slower but still tones and lengthens. Check out their SoHo location.
    • Barre 3, out of Portland, OR, offers online bar classes that we've been doing in our kitchens (subscriptions are $15/month)
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
    • Our go-to is Mala in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
    • Check out Virayoga in SoHo for alignment based yoga
    • Laughing Lotus in Chelsea is a fun, flow class
    • Shambhala in Prospect Heights has an array of classes

Our Top 5 Strength Moves for Runners

Let’s face it, most of us runners think we are in great shape and fit because we run long distances or so many hours a week. While that’s true, running is the same motion over and over and over again. Thus, your muscles and joints learn to behave in a very specific way. In order to become a faster and stronger runner, incorporate cross training and strength exercises into your weekly running plans.

One of our favorite ways to incorporate strength into our weekly workouts is to do the exercises during a run. We do this on an easy run day and not on a day before or after our speed/tempo/hill or long run.

Here’s our workout: Run 1 mile, dynamic warmup series, run ½ mile, legs, run ½ mile, abs, run ½ mile, upper body, finish up with 1 mile cool down.

Here are the top 5 exercises we recommend for every runner. Do 2-3 sets of each exercise at least 2x a week. You will become stronger and you will feel faster. We've included a link to our video. The description is within our YouTube video.

1. Plank - Builds abdominal and lower back strength to support and stabilize your upper body while running improving form, performance and reducing risk of injury. 

  • Begin lying face down, resting on your forearms. 
  • Push off the floor, raising up on to toes and forearms so your body is parallel to the floor, making a straight line from your head to your heels
  • Focus on pulling your abdominal in and keeping your shoulders over your elbows. 
  • Look slightly forward to avoid straining the neck.
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds.

2. Side Plank - Strengthes the oblique muscles and increase hip strength and stability which are important in preventing injury. 

  • Begin by lying on your right side with your right forearm on the ground, shoulder over your elbow and left leg stacked on top of right.
  • Exhale and push your hips off the floor. Keep pushing left hip up towards the sky. 
  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side

3. Pushups - Strengthens the shoulders, arms and core improving your upper body strength which will improve your running economy, help maintain proper form as your lower body begins to fatigue, and are essential for hilly terrain in order to drive your legs uphill.  

  • Get into a plank position and place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Feet can be together or wider apart (easier).
  • Contract your abs by pulling your belly button toward your spine. Keep your core tight throughout the movement.
  • Inhale as you slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Exhale as you push back up to the start position. Don't lock the elbows; keep them slightly bent.
  • Repeat 25 times (full or modified or a combination).

3. Squats - Strengthen your hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteals, calves and hip flexors. These are great for runners because they work the entire lower body and improve muscle balance.  

  • Stand with your knees shoulder width apart and toes angled out, arms by your sides. 
  • Squat down bringing thighs parallel to the floor. Keep your weight in your heels, chest up, back flat and knees behind your toes. Squeeze your butt as you come back up. 
  • For weak knees, only perform a partial squat. 
  • Repeat 25 times.

4. Bridge Lift - Works your glutes, which is necessary for efficient leg turnover. 

  • Lie flat on your back with your hands by your side, knees bent and feet hips width apart. 
  • Fire your glutes by driving your heels into the ground to raise your hips. Your hips should create a straight line from the knee through the hip and shoulder. 
  • At the top point, draw in the abdominals and hold for 2 seconds. 
  • Lower back down and repeat.
  • You should feel this in your glutes and hamstrings, not your back.
  • Repeat 25 times.

5. Single Leg Deadlift - Strengthens the hips, engages the hamstrings and gets the glutes firing. These are all needed for stabilizing the body while running. Balancing on one leg simulates the one legged activity of running, works your balance and core muscles. 

  • Standing up with a slight bend in the right knee, raise the left leg slightly off the ground.
  • Hinge forward at the waist and lift the left leg straight behind you until your chest is parallel to the floor. Engage your hamstring and glute of the right leg planted on the ground and come back to standing. Repeat for 10-15 times and switch legs.
  • Advanced Option: As you hinge back to standing draw the right knee up until your knee is parallel with your hips. Hold for 3 seconds and return to hinged forward position with your leg behind you. Repeat for 10-15 times.

 

HBR Nike Training Club Challenge

We love training for races. We also love our non-race training months, like right now.  During these months, it's our time to really commit to cross training: kick boxing classes, take ballet (okay, that was once but really fun!), try a new global conditioning class, or torture ourselves at a barre class (we have a secret love for Physique 57 and Refine Method).

For the next few weeks, instead of taking a bunch of classes and being indoors, we decided to challenge ourselves (and all of you!) to a 21 day focused workout goal. We are taking advantage of the awesome Nike Training Club app for this challenge and committing to one NTC workout every day for 21 days.

Join us and commit to an NTC workout once a day for 21 days; it takes 21 days to create a habit!  The app (available for iphones and ipads only right now) offers 15, 30, and 45 minute beginner, intermmediate & advanced workouts. Check out the app - the awesomeness speaks for itself from the second you launch it!

Follow our progress here or on Facebook. Don't forget to tell us about your own goals and progress!