Cross train to prepare for Gasparilla Distance Classic - WFLA News Channel 8

Cross train to prepare for Gasparilla Distance Classic

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - With just two weeks to go until the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic, runners and walkers are well into their training. If they are not careful, too much running may lead to an injury. That is why cross training should be an important part of preparing for the races.

Shannon Walsh is a member of the group of runners and walkers WFLA is tracking as they train for the Gasparilla Distance Classic. Even though Walsh stays busy with work, volunteering with the Junior League and travel, she is still finding time to prepare for the Gasparilla Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus Challenge.

That challenge includes running the 15K race, 9.3 miles, on Saturday, February 22. She will complete the challenge by also running the 8K race, 5 miles, the next morning.

"I'd like to be able to finish and not be sore afterwards," said Walsh.

While it may seem like she should run more to prepare, Carrie Bell, the YMCA trainer for the group, reminds her and everyone that cross training should be vital part of your training.

"Cross training is so important to maintaining balance," said Bell. "A lot of people do go out there and just run and then you're going to get an injury from running too much or overdoing doing one specific activity," she continued.

Walsh started boxing lessons in the last few months, and Bell says that is a great cardio activity to mix in with running. She also recommends strength training to build your muscles.

"Some sort of weight-bearing routine," said Bell.

It can be as simple as a basic push up, but be sure to have correct form.  Place hands just to the outside of the shoulders with the elbows going back at a slight angle. She says to keep your stomach muscles tight as you lower to the ground.

The extra miles Walsh has been running combined with cross training makes her more hungry. To combat the constant hunger, Bell recommends five to six small meals during the day that include a carbohydrate and a protein.

"A healthy carb like whole grains and fruits. That's going to maintain your energy level so much more and make you feel like satisfied," said Bell.

A balanced exercise and meal plan means Walsh should have a strong finish to both her races.
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