Cross-Training Tips for Runners by Andie Mercado
AQUA Trainer Andie Mercado is a lover of all things health and wellness. From her high-energy AQUA classes to her love of running, she shares some insight around training for marathons (which she plans to do several times this year, just having completed a half-marathon in Brooklyn).
What is it like to train for the 1/2 marathon? Have you done this before?
ANDIE MERCADO: Training for a half marathon wasn't easy at first. The furthest I've ever ran prior to racing my first one was four miles. Running 13.1 seemed impossible. Adding milage is an incredible process because you learn what your body is capable of doing. You start to understand that if I can run 4 miles maybe I can add another mile to my run next week and the week after that.
As a runner, does AQUA help your endurance and strength?
AM: AQUA promotes endurance and strength as a runner, especially with our AQUA Interval and AQUA Power classes. Teaching your body speed training during the interval classes is important, especially when it comes to sprinting through a hard effort — and teaching your body how to control your heart rate for an active recovery.
Keeping your heart rate going is important when it comes to working out for a longer period of time, like running a half marathon. One of the best parts about AQUA Interval is that it is an overall body workout. Working out your upper body is just as important as working your lower!
Our AQUA Power classes are great for runners because it teaches you pacing, endurance, and tempo. When runners run long distance, they're not running their fastest pace they can. They're running the fastest they can, from around 90 minutes to three hours, depending on how fast you are. Power teaches you how to keep a tempo going in preparation for a long work out.
Adding milage is an incredible process because you learn what your body is capable of doing.
How can other runners, newbies and experienced alike, use AQUA as part of their recovery?
AM: Cross-training at AQUA helps out runners because after running anywhere from 12-30 miles a week, being in the water makes it easier on your joints — such as your feet, knees, and even your shins. Shin splints can occur in your training for multiple reasons (from incorrect form, being a novice runner, or even not changing your shoes after running 300-500 miles) and being in the water can help you keep up your cardio without applying pressure to your joints during the post-run recovery process.
Our AQUA Power classes are great for runners because it teaches you pacing, endurance, and tempo. When runners run long distance, they're not running their fastest pace they can.
Are there specific moves or positions that can help runners?
AM: I really love when we work on abs during class in position 4 because a stronger core makes for better balance. Something I'm noticing as a runner is that I'm getting faster every year — and the faster I become, the easier it is for me to lose proper form. Having a strong core can help keep me balanced. Sprinting in position 4 is also something that can help runners.
What is your personal favorite AQUA class — and how does it benefit your overall wellness?
AM: AQUA Restore is actually my favorite class for any athlete because it gives us the opportunity to really reset our bodies mentally and physically after a long week of training.
Athletes tend to ignore stretching and meditation while training for a high-impact sport (like a marathon), but taking AQUA Restore really reminds us to take a step back, reset, and recharge so we can be prepared for our next week of training ahead.
Meditation also helps relieve any stress as well. That stress can turn into physical tension all over your body and AQUA Restore (as well as our Meditation class) is the best way to relieve it.
Have you met any personal goals this year, and what are you planning to run in the future?
AM: The Brooklyn half marathon this year was awesome! It usually rains every year but we were blessed with the sun. We were also lucky enough to run earlier in the day because it got way too hot late morning. Last year I earned my PR (personal record) at the Brooklyn Half with 2:07. My goal was to run it under 2:00 hours and I actually PR’d at 1:52!
I’m running the Brooklyn Mile this Sunday! A mile sounds easy and short, but running it all out — the same way we would sprint during Interval classes is the same effort I will be giving when I race the mile this Sunday.
Learn more about Andie here!