The 12 Days of XC-Mas
It’s that wonderful time of year when Christmas songs flood the radio airwaves filling the general populous with joy (or dread). Chances are you will hear hundreds of Christmas songs between now and December 25th. Of these hundreds of Christmas songs, the 12 Days of Christmas is one of the most famous and certainly lasts the longest. This song has gained a place of special significance in my family, as my Aunt has created the wonderful (or horrible) tradition of having the entire family sing (if you can call it that) the 12 Days of Christmas, with each family member taking a verse. (Side Note: If this ever happens to you, be sure to wine and complain so you can get the 12 drummers drumming verse.) In anticipation of participating in this ‘wonderful’ holiday tradition, I have decided that the 12 days of Christmas is much more than a Christmas carol, it’s actually a song about running. Now I can hear all of you readers out there thinking, “its not about running you stupid idiot!” but you’ll soon realize how wrong you are. May I present to you, the running based interpretation of a classic Christmas carol, ‘The Twelve Days of XC-Mas.’
12 Drummers Drumming
The Purpose of a Drum in a band (other than to rock out) is to keep the tempo of a song. Tempo workouts happen to be an important part of any distance training. A tempo run is a fast paced aerobic run, ran at our about your anaerobic threshold. Tempo pace, also known as Threshold Pace, should be a ‘comfortably hard effort’ and tempo workouts can be run as one long effort, or broken up into shorter efforts with short rest in between each effort. For a beginning runner, tempo pace is similar to the pace that one would run for 10k, while for an elite runner tempo pace is about the pace one could run for 1 hour. Tempo workouts should be some of the first workouts introduced to your training and are crucial to increasing your aerobic capacity. Tempo Workouts, especially broken up into shorter efforts, are also useful pre-race tune ups. My go to work out before the last race of any season is 3xmile tempo with a couple fast 200s. So just like the drum is the foundation of a song, tempo workouts are (in my opinion at least) the foundation of a good training plan.
11 Pipers Piping
Making for Pipe? Any good piper relies on his pipe, just like any good runner relies on their pipe.
By pipe I mean pvc pipe. Believe it or not, many hard core runners use pvc to roll and message their muscles. I’ve done this once before and it hurts… a lot. If you’re a normal guy like me and don’t have the mental fortitude of a Navy Seal, you can still get the pipe. Only the pipe is a foam roller. Foam rollers can be used the same way as PVC pipe only you roll on foam, not hard plastic. And…WE HAVE FOAM ROLLERS IN THE STORE!!!!!!
10 Lords a Leaping
Believe it or not leaping is quite common in cross country. Leaping over hay bales, leaping over fallen competitors, falling on the ground and having other competitors leap over you. In fact I did all three at Club Cross Country Nationals on Saturday. (That was an easy one)
9 Ladies Dancing
Can Dancing make you a better runner? Depends on the kind of dancing. If you do a dance that forces you to move your feet fast and work on balance there are certainly benefits. In college, I did a bunch of agility drills that probably worked similar muscle groups to dancing and I feel like the drills helped with balance, explosiveness, and running efficiency. However, if all you do is bend your knees up and down and throw in a random arm spasms every now and then (that’s how I dance) it probably doesn’t help that much. I may not be an expert on dancing and running, but I do know that if you tell a lady your mile time, she’ll probably want to dance with you. Trust me… I know from experience.
(This guy can dance)
8 Maids a Milking
This verse of the song is all about MILK! Chocolate Milk is a fantastic recovery drink, the ratio of protein to carbohydrates found in chocolate milk is very similar to the ratio that most recovery drinks target. Because of this, Chocolate Milk is great to drink after workouts and long runs, as it helps speed recovery. If you’re spoiled like I was in college, you can upgrade to Muscle Milk or a similar protein drink. With a drink like Muscle Milk you gain a little extra protein, but it also has the faint metallic taste of something that was concocted in a laboratory. For those who don’t have time to run to the store after every run, Endurox is another great recovery drink. Endurox uses a patented 4:1 carbohydrate protein formula that provides maximum muscle recovery. Every time I come in to work I see a great big tub of Endurox and am tempted to buy it. If you’re looking for a great recovery drink, I recommend you come in to Summit and pick up some Endurox before I hoard it all for myself.
(Looks good, doesn’t it)
7 Swans a Swimming
This verse of the song is clearly about the benefit of adding pool work to your training routine. Hitting the pool is a great way to get in some extra aerobic work while giving your legs a break from the pounding of running. Top pros often use under water treadmills for this very purpose. For those who don’t have access to an underwater treadmill (most of us) swimming or aqua jogging works just as well. So if you’re looking for a good way to cross train this winter, look no further than the pool.
Tune in tomorrow for the dramatic conclusion to the ‘12 Days of XC-Mas’