Well, here we go. Less than a week till Christmas and less than 2 till the New Year! I know, shocker, as usual! And most of you are probably already thinking of goals for 2015. I know I am. Well, more like things I’d like to accomplish or focus on. One of this is to take more classes. We just 3 more classes at our gym and I have only taken one! But hopefully that will change come January when my schedule slows down.
But here’s the thing…
How do I keep my classes, still run, and take barre? Isn’t that overdoing it?
How do you find the perfect balance without overtraining?
Incorporating running into your barre workouts
…or incorporating barre into your running!
Either way, these two workouts are super complementary to your body and just work so well together, it is amazing (I wrote a little about it here in a previous post for Lindsay)! I have been a casual runner for years, and by casual, I mean, I run to run, I don’t wear a watch, I don’t (usually) track my miles (once in a blue moon!) and I am not a racer (I’ve done a few half marathons but they just aren’t my thing). I run simply because I love how I feel when I run, before, during, and after, plain and simple.
So when I began doing barre workouts almost four years ago now (and teach them too, for almost three years, at barre n9ne® studio, my home away from home!!), and realized how much I loved barre workouts too, I began to evolve my workouts to a point where I *just* do barre workouts and running and it has been the magic bullet for me.
So I thought I would share with you a few tips on incorporating running into your barre workouts, if you are a #barreaddict, and vice versa, how to incorporate barre into your running, if you are a run-nerd! Genius, yes?!
Find your balance.
Barre workouts are generally pretty intense for your legs, as you work them in every which way in the span of 55 minutes or less. From your glutes, to your calves, to your quads, you are hitting those muscles at every angle and to failure. That whole ‘embrace the shake’ mantra that we love (and sometimes love to hate!) so much is so true…those tiny pulses and tucks get those muscles shaking and to failure so well, that your legs will likely feel like jello afterwards! High five!
What’s different about a barre workout is that it isn’t heavily cardio focused (a few of our classes are cardio-based, for example, but by and large, these workouts are for strength and toning mostly), so you may find yourself wanting that cardio ‘fix’ in addition to classes you take. And running is a great complement to classes. I typically suggest – and everyone is different – that you slowly marry the two together. If you have been taking, say, 2-4 classes a week, why not start at 1-2 runs per week on your off days and see what works.
For me, I teach throughout the week at barre n9ne, and also try to fit in a few of my own ‘me’ workouts, including a couple of classes and a few runs. And it works wonderfully. I refer to it as ‘smarter, not harder’ because I don’t think you need to run for hours to reach your goals. My runs are anywhere between 30-60 minutes, with one of those runs hitting 60 mins. I call this ‘smarter, not harder’ because with the right balance, you don’t need to work out for hours a day to reach your goals, you just need to find the right combination for your body and it just works.
Figure out what works best for you – before or after.
For me, I try to stack my runs on ‘off’ days that I take a class. However, there are some days where it may just work out where I may do both in the same day. Test run (no pun intended hehe) both options, if this holds true for you. Run before you take a class and see how your legs feel, and then run after you take a class (perhaps not back-to-back, though it can be done!) and re-evaluate.
What I find so interesting is that I actually like both options for different reasons. On days I run before I take a class (in the same day, not back to back), I find my legs are more quickly get to that shake point and I dig that! It feels so good – and you won’t believe it till it happens to you. When those legs start shaking like crazy, you’ll be surprised at how much lower you can go into each move and how effective it feels!
On days I run after taking a class (or teaching, as it generally happens to me, given my schedule), I find the run shakes my legs out so much, it’s fantastic. I run strong, my legs feel conditioned and ready to roll.
And finally, I think running on ‘off’ class days is the ideal balance, because your legs are freshest, but a short 20-30 min run before or after a class (within the same day, not necessarily back to back) can be a great warmup (or cooldown) to your barre class.
Use barre workouts to strengthen your imbalances.
I mentioned this in a previous guest blog I wrote for Lindsay, but truly, running and barre are completely complementary workouts. Prior to barre n9ne, I would get shin splints almost every single run, and I would need 2-4 days off minimum between runs given that. I have also struggled with IT band syndrome, as well as tight hips and hamstrings. But barre work has completely strengthened all of these muscle imbalances to a point where shin splints are no longer, I have much more leg endurance and can run a couple of days back to back, where that was impossible before, and my IT band has never felt stronger. So, use barre workouts as a tool to strengthen those areas that may be stumbling blocks for you. Talk to your instructor about exercises might want to do at home to build up that strength further and don’t forget to foam roll (foam roll, foam roll, and foam roll some more!), do some IT band stretches each day, and hamstring stretches, and you will notice SUCH a difference in your runs, and conversely, in your barre workouts, in terms of endurance and improvement!
Have you tried barre yet?
Runners… how do you balance your cross training and run routine?