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Cross-training for runners

by RunningPip
Friday 5th February 2016
We all know that we should be doing exercise other than running. Fitness classes, strength training, swimming and cycling all help our overall fitness and make us better runners, but it’s already hard to fit runs into our busy lives and running is just so much fun! 
To help you try to find cross-training to suit you and your busy life our Run247 contributors are trying out different types of cross-training and reporting back to you. We are putting ourselves through the pain, embarrassment and challenges of co-ordinating limbs so that you don’t have to.
First up is Pip Haylett, ultra runner and mountain lover. He found a cross-training adventure on Regent Street. 
North Face Mountain Adventure Training
Tuesdays 18:15 - 19:30, Regent Street North Face Store / Green Park
What they say about it...
"We aim to prepare you for the mountains with weekly outdoor strength and stamina conditioning. Whether you’re a trail runner, climber or snowboarder, these sessions will help to improve your fitness so you can enjoy every minute you get in the mountains"
What I think about it...
An outdoor circuits / training session incorporating a bit of running, and a lot of strength work.  Bulgarian split squats, planks, sprints and general park related fun.  I've done a lot of these outdoor bootcamp type things over the years, from BMF through to specific running related park sessions.  This is definitely the best I have done in terms of the instructor approach, the variety or workout, and the general crowd of people that attend.  It's run by these guys http://www.commandoactive.com/  This is will definitely help me in the mountains, if and when I get there.  And the best thing, I have a locker with my name on it in the North Face Store!

Mountain Athletics

What did it cost?
The session is free, which is very cool for such a good, personal trainer led session.  It started out relatively small last year, but now there are maybe 20 people each session, so it is definitely growing in popularity. 
How much preparation was required (equipment, clothing etc)?
Just turn up at the Regent Street store with some gym kit that is appropriate for the weather.  There are changing rooms and lockers in the store, so you can change before and after the session.
How hard was it on a scale of 1 - 10?
You can work as hard as you like - doing it 'as expected' would give you an 8 out of 10 I'd say.  It's hard if you want it to be, and I guess you could take it easier if you wanted, although that defeats the point.  By the end of most weeks, I have destroyed my legs, and can hardly move my arms.
How much did you ache the next day on a scale of 1 - 10?
An 8/10 for aches.  First time I went it was definitely a shock to the system, and I was very achy!  Starting to get used to it a bit now, and it's not as bad / good as it once was.  Upper body in particular, as I don't usually train anything apart from going for a run.
What muscles did it work?
It's meant to be focused on mountain adventures, so a lot about legs (climbing, skiing etc) as well as upper body work.  Oh, and the core.  LOTS of core work.  General full body workout that will make you ache all over.
Could you do it if you were injured and couldn’t run?
Probably not, as there is a fair amount of running involved... getting from the shop to the park is about a mile of commuter filled road, then in the park there is a fair amount of running in between exercises.
How good or bad was it for your street cred (with 1 being very bad and 10 being awesome)?
Training with North Face has got to have more cred than lots of other brands ... so I'd go quite high on that score.  Another 8 out of 10 here, as you are training with awesome people, and being trained by ex-commandos.  Although I have an hour and a half commute home afterwards, generally covered in mud, where I get some interesting looks.
How likely would you be to go regularly?
Yep, as often as I can fit it in.  For the exercise and camaraderie.
Photos by Jen Slater

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