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Feeling Cross

At just under a month until race day, I am now running longer distances than I ever knew possible. I am learning first hand that pounding your feet on the pavement for hours at a time causes one to experience considerable amounts of pain. Joints, muscles, bones – you name it and it’s probably a little sore these days. I need to build strength and endurance to complete the marathon, but I can’t run every day. At some point the law of diminishing returns kicks in and running does more harm than good. So what to do?

In recent weeks I have taken up cross training as a means for getting in shape for the marathon. I am now engaging in other forms of exercise on the days in between my scheduled runs. This has helped me to build strength, flexibility and endurance, while also adding some fun activities to my fitness regimen. Better still, taking a break from running give my body time to heal During the course of the week I now try to run 3 times, and on the alternate days I lift weights, cycle, and swim. Additionally, because my shorter weekday runs are in the evening, I am trying to do some yoga in the morning on my running days to improve my flexibility, focus, and breathing. None of these activities are running, but all of them are making me a better runner.

It is no different in other areas of life. For example, I work in the field of marketing. I read marketing books, blogs, and articles, talk to other marketing people, and solve marketing problems. I want to be great at what I do, and every day I work to get better. Still, if all I did was work in this area all day every day, my effectiveness would diminish over time. So from a professional perspective I have taken an interest in “cross training” by studying physics, design, biology, economics, technology, music, and numerous other things that are not marketing. I don’t necessarily want to develop expertise in these ancillary domains of knowledge, but rather want to add perspective to my own world.

The idea is simple. Studyingthese other things in addition to studying and practicing marketing, makes me a better marketer. It fuels my creativity. It strengthens my mind and broadens my thinking. The world is filled with compelling ideas. No matter what you do with your days, there are always new challenges out there. There are always new paths to explore, new questions to consider, and new treasures to discover. To run farther down the desired path of your life, try a little cross training on some different trails every once in a while.