by Fred Dyck, B.Sc.P.E, Director of Fitness, YWCA Saskatoon
When I first began regular run training about 20 years ago, I really just ran (or jogged if you will). I might have done some push ups occasionally but mostly I just went out the door and ran. As time has gone by I had added (or supplanted) a number of other fitness activities to my weeks. In fact, even though I am planning to undertake a difficult trail 20-km run this month, I typically only run a couple times a week. Is that enough? Am I ready to run 20-km? Am I properly trained? For me, I do feel I am ready. Ready enough to complete the event (that is always my primary goal) with enough confidence I will end the day feeling tired but ok and with little chance of an injury.
This approach brings to question one of the fundamental principles of sport. You must train for your sport by doing that sport…the specificity principle. Basically, the specificity principle means to successfully train for a sport or movement activity you must do that sport or activity. You cannot become a golfer or improve your golf solely by training in the gym. You must golf to be better at golf. Yet, only running a couple days of the week may not seem like I am obeying this concept. Am I?
For me, I do shift my weight room training as I undertake training for a run. Where for much of the winter months I find my interest in functional fitness movements and barbell activities like the deadlift and cleans, I shifted my focus this summer to including movements which would improve my running abilities. For example, I have included more lunge type movements this summer. I don’t ignore the other movements I like to do in the gym but just change the focus to movements that seem to benefit my running goals. I believe this has helped me stay interested in running (just running does tend to lead to me losing interest) and has made me a more well rounded age group athlete. I feel my body is stronger for it and consequently better equipped for the rigours of the type of trail running I now prefer.
Those have been my experiences. But, I do like to ensure that the science of movement will back up what I am experiencing. At YWCA Fitness on 25th, we have a great team of science-based movement specialists and I go to them for help. Nima Nazemi and Val Kirk are our main certified personal trainers with both bringing a wealth of experience and education to our fitness team. And, this past year, we added Rahim Ramji to our team. Rahim has an undergraduate kinesiology degree and just recently completed his doctorate in physiotherapy. He is a great resource for our members and staff to help us move and train properly and stay healthy while doing it.
Rahim and I had a conversation about the benefits of cross training and why you may find you run better and safer this way. Watch our YouTube video below for the details of our conversation. You can see this video and lots of other fitness videos on the Fitness on 25th YouTube channel.