Time to take a break

What sports to step into when you need to step away from running

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

So, the next race I want to run is in November. I have a while, but I just can't get into it. This brings up a great topic. When is it time to take a break from running? Here are the top reasons why you should:

  1. After a big race- Let's face it. You are just over it.
  2. During and coming back from an injury- We all want to keep going, but you have to stop if you want to get better.
  3. If you have a bad attitude or low motivation- You are obviously bored.
  4. You are not seeing progress- This could be a symptom of overtraining.
  5. You need to drop some serious weight and tone- You have hit a plateau and running can only take you so far.
  6. You are prepping for a race, but you have an early start.- This is a great opportunity to pick up another sport for a couple of months before your training begins.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, it is time to pick up another sport. Don't worry, you are still a runner. Here are my suggestions on other sports that are not only a new challenge, but they also compliment your running addiction and will improve your running performance.

It's funny. All runners think alike. When I wanted to discuss this topic, I took to the internet. I knew which sports that I wanted to highlight, but I found this article by this guy who writes for Men's Running UK named Tom Bristow. He chose the exact same sports to discuss. This is me giving him his props.


Walking

I know walking. I built a business on it. Let me tell you a little bit about walking. It is not for wimps. If done correctly, walking is a full body workout that can burn anywhere from 90 to 200 calories. (Depending on whose walking). It reduces body fat and improves balance. It builds stronger bones and muscles in the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. Its great when done with others.

In Houston: I would say this, but join Houston Tourism Gym on a walking adventure.

Cycling

Cycling improves the muscles that you already use for running by making them stronger. It gives the hips and knees a break from the impact of pounding on the pavement. It improves flexibility and coordination as well as builds leg muscles. If you want massive, sexy calves like Fred, then try cycling.

In Houston: Try a social bike ride like Critical Mass or Tour de Taco.


Swimming

This activity is great for runners. Although it is a full body workout, swimming gives your running muscles a break while working out different sets of muscles. It strengthens muscles and joints. For runners, its a great alternative because it increases your cardio endurance and your VO2 Max. Swimming is also a fun and relaxing pastime. Lastly swimming is great for cooling off in hot-ass Houston.

In Houston: If you do not have a pool of your own, you can access one at your local gym or recreation centers like Emancipation Recreation Center.


Rowing:

Another full body workout that is great for runners. If you are injured, you get to get off your feet. But, don't discount this activity. When done right, it will work your entire body. It is best for improving respiratory function and body composition. If your goal is fat loss, rowing torches calories.

You can find a rowing machine at most gyms, but if you want the real thing, you can rent a kayak at The Waterworks at Buffalo Bayou and spend a day on the water.


Boxing:

Remember the scene where Rocky is running stairs at the Philadelphia Art Museum…running is a part of a boxer's training. So I guess runners should include boxing in their training. This is definitely a good idea if a runner wants to improve his or her speed and running posture. Improve your agility with the fancy footwork of a boxer. Learn better ways to breath. There is no other way to relieve stress than boxing. It strengthens your mental muscle and boost confidence. Lastly, boxing teaches you self defense when you find yourself on a lonely road.

In Houston: You could order equipment and box and home or you can get proper training from a boxing gym like Title Boxing Club.

So, before I get into some heavy training, I'm choosing a couple of these activities to get into. I'll let you know how it turns out. Please let me know which ones you have tried. Send your emails to info@tourismgymhtx.com.

This Power Hour will kick your butt

Title Boxing makes it look easy

We got our boxing on. Courtesy photo.

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

So I am taking a break from running (remember my article from a couple of weeks ago). I'm looking for a new activity to get into. Sometimes, when you are passionate about a sport like running, it becomes part of your identity. I felt like maybe I am a quitter. Maybe I lost my mojo. At first, it was hard to reconcile not wanting to run, but here are my reasons:

  • I'm going to be honest. I need to lose weight (there is a good reason why you have not seen my finish line photo from Iceland).
  • I have noticed that my balance and posture have been off.
  • Like I said, I have been super stressed and haven't been feeling running.
  • I want faster running times.

I've been peeping the Title Boxing Gym that is around the corner from my house. I've always been curious about what went on there. Well, I'm going to find out.

As I opened the door and stepped in, I surveyed the room. Lined up heavy bags were hanging throughout the room. There was a rack of medicine balls along a mirrored wall. In the corner, there was a full sized boxing ring. About 10 MMA bags were tucked behind the ring. It looked serious.

"Hello, how are you?" I turned my attention to a lean man holding his hand out waiting for me to shake it. "I'm Totrek. What is your name?"

"Jovan. So, what's the deal here?"

As Totrek leads me into the gym, he explains Title Boxing.

"We offer hour long boxing, kickboxing, and MMA classes we call the Power Hour. Each class starts with 15 minutes of calisthenics, eight rounds of three minutes of punch/kick combinations, and ends with 15 minutes of core for a cool down with stretching. This is no contact boxing, we just hit heavy bags. There are 55 of them to be exact."

I'm a little intimidated. How many women exactly belong to the gym? What is the age range? Totrek assures me that I would fit in and to just go at my own pace. Also noteworthy is you can burn anywhere from 600-1000 calories in an hour. Totrek is now showing me the schedule of classes. "So when can you come in to try your first shot on us?"


First timers getting instructed.

I chose the 9:30am class on Monday morning. "You're instructor will be Chris. Just make sure you bring $11.90, the day of class for your hand wraps, which are a must, and arrive 15 minutes early to get registered and wrapped. We will loan you boxing gloves. See you then!

Monday rolls around. I make sure I'm there at 9:15am. Kate, who works the front desk greets and rings me up. Kate is a beautiful, blond amazon woman from the Czech Republic who stands about 6"2 without heels. She wears stilettos because everyone else should be taller. She gets me registered and wraps my hands. Afterwards, she introduces me to Chris. I have needed an obnoxious black man in my life to get me motivated. I took one look at him and knew he would do just fine. Chris goes over a brief tutorial on how to breath and the different punches we would be doing. I chose my bag and take my place.

The music starts. It is a blend of modern day rap and from the early 2000's. Think Luda meets Drake. Chris is energetic and unapologetic. Chris leads us through 15 minutes of damn, I lost my fitness. Squats, lunges, jumping jacks, high knees. All with no rest. I think I burned 400 calories within the first 15 minutes.


Feeling like champ with Salutu

He tells us to take position in the front of the room. Our assignment is to jab. jab/cross. hook. down the line of bags. The music starts. It's Tyga. As I punch each bag, i feel like Mila Jovavich on the Fifth Element. Each bag is my opponent. They can get a TASTE....TASTE. I was having so much fun. I thought of all the people who deserved a TASTE.....TASTE.

"Will you stop smiling? You have been cheezin this entire time." says Chris. Here I was wanting to get out all that frustration and it turned out I was so happy to hit something. I thought I would be angrier, but I'm just not an angry person, I guess. That's a relief.

The class ends with 15 mins of core and stretching. Everyone is soaked in sweat. The music ends and so does the class. I can't wait for the next class. This is definitely my new activity.

If you want to try your first shot from Title Boxing Gym, visit Title Boxing Club Westchase or call 713-637-4246.

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