Over the course of the summer and early fall I have been running a lot more than before and learning to like it. Its been a gradual thing, and yet I know its become an important part of my weight-management efforts. Although I’m lucky enough to live in the temperate climate of northern California, I’ve been wondering lately how I would fare with my cardio workouts once the winter (read: ‘rainy season’) begins.
Earlier this week, while I was nearing the end of a long run, I got carried away by the latest peppy song on my iPod (‘Coulda Been’ / Kimberly Locke) and became a little careless on a long downhill stretch, resulting in a misplaced footfall where I struck the edge of a curb at too sharp an angle. Nothing snapped or pinged and I was able to finish the run, but during the next two morning runs my ankle seemed a bit too tender to go the usual distance.
I knew that if I wanted to let my ankle recover while still getting in my cardio workout, I had to face it – the dreaded cardio machine at the gym. I know a lot of people who swear by treadmills and elliptical machines, but they’ve never really been my bag. They are good for low impact exercise and offer a climate controlled environment, but its never my first choice means of getting in a workout.
Today I put it off as long as possible and by the time I headed out to the gym it was already dark, cold and windy. As I was unpacking my gym bag in the locker room I suddenly realized I forgot both my gym shirt and (more importantly) my running shoes. What to do!? I didn’t want to look dorky wearing non-gym clothes and the thought of going home and just sinking into the sofa became a strong temptation.
In the end, however, I decided that it didn’t really matter what people saw me wearing – my t-shirt was good enough, and the comfortable casual shoes that I had on would be perfectly suitable for the elliptical trainer. So I trudged out in my non-regulation outfit, fired up the machine, plugged in my numbers and got going.
Soon enough I discovered that I could get into Kimberly Locke just as much indoors on the trainer as I could while I was out running. I also enjoyed fiddling around with the readout and watching things like my heart rate and the calorie count. After 25 very intense minutes, I decided to cool down with a brisk mile walk on the treadmill. It was definitely a good workout.
Tomorrow’s supposed to be better weather, and if my ankle is feeling okay, I think I’ll go for a nice, long run. But its nice to know that I have alternatives.