Make no mistake about it, in terms of working out, there is nothing better than running. Like Joshua Jackson was forced to say "A Skull above any other" in his thrill-a-minute flick The Skulls, I am prone to say "Running above all else." I've tried the exercise bike and I hated it. I've tried the stairmaster and I hated it. I tried free weights and hated them no matter what weight. Try as I might, I can't seem to find the same discipline and the 'stick-with-it' attitude that I am easily able to muster for running when it comes to any other form of exercise. Oddly enough, few hobbies and interests I've had over my life have lasted more than a year and none have even come close to my fondness for running.
Unfortunately, through no fault of mine own, a few weeks ago, I began getting these pains in the meaty portion of my kneecaps which were causing my runs to be limited to something akin to slow hobbling and tripping on a treadmill for 15-20 minutes until I was in such agony that I was forced to stop altogether.
Sad and dejected after my last attempt to overcome the pain, I came limping home to the not-so-friendly mug of my dopeness pregnant wife CVSW. Clearly having absolutely no sympathy for her downed man, CVSW looked through my eyes to my soul and sternly said, "Mr. Petes, this is insane. Your body clearly needs to rest and you're not giving it what it needs!"
"But, my love," replied I trying to fight back the pain that was swelling within my legs, "I will become chubby should I fail to maintain my workout regimen. If I allow my body even one week's rest, you won't find me to be the handsome man you married. I will be more akin to a Keebler Elf!!"
"I'm sure I'd still find you as delicious as the products those cute little elves make. But, either way, Mr. Petes, I strongly encourage you to begin cross-training. Your body simply can't take all this running!"
"Cross...tra...cross-training?? You know I am of the Jewish faith! What would wearing a cross while running have to do with my body healing itself?"
As my wife began to inform me that cross-training had nothing to do with any religious practices but was merely a term referring to any sport or exercise that supplements your main sport, I became intrigued. Sure I had considered doing other exercises, but I had always assumed that would mean replacing running. With the prospect of merely supplementing my runs, I finally agreed to try that elliptical machine in my building's gym which I had never stepped foot on before.
It has now been two full weeks since I began doing the using the elliptical machine either before or after getting in my runs and, I have to admit, I have noticed that my runs have been greatly benefited. My legs are not as tired, sore or tender as they used to be and I've found that I am enjoying running on treadmills more than I used to. Having done some interweb surfing on the benefits of cross-training, I have come to realize that supplementing one's primary exercise with additional exercises always helps balance my muscle groups, helps with my overall cardiovascular fitness levels and helps to cure any existing injuries caused by that primary exercise. The point might be an obvious one for all you fitness aficionados out there but cross-training has really helped my fitness acumen.
While I will never enjoy a sport more than I do running and while I'll devote more of my time to running than to anything else (exercise-wise), I have a feeling that cross-training will become a part of my daily workout routines. And, while I may not become a Keebler Elf anytime soon, I also have a feeling my dopeness pregnant wife will continue to find me delicious for many cross-training days to come!