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Last week I ran a forty minute mile.

No, that is not a typo.

Yes, I know I was not supposed to be running last week; part of a self-imposed rehab stint to get my knee better.

But I have a race coming up on the 30th and I had to do something. The elliptical has been surprisingly satisfying, but it’s still not running. I wanted to get the motion and bio-mechanical feel of running back into the muscles. So on Wednesday I went to the local gym, put on my swimsuit and ran the pool. I focused on form and effort, keeping count of my laps as I ran through 4 1/2 feet of water.

Back and forth. Back and forth.

A lot of the swimmers looked at me as if I were crazy, but it did the trick. There was essentially no impact and I got to feel like I was running. After 38:40, I had done 52 laps, 1 mile. I laughed at the absurdity of inputting the data into my running log, but you know what? I ran that mile dammit and I was taking credit for it.

All of this, the elliptical, the heavy bag, the swimming and the water running left me with a bit of a quandary. How do I incorporate all of this into my running log? Up until two weeks ago I had been guilty of NOT cross-training once in 2010, so I never considered what I would write in the log if I had to get my cardio by means other than running.

The workouts have been good. 8 3-minute rounds on a heavy bag is a hard workout. 8.5 miles on the elliptical left me more sweaty than an hour-long run. My 40-minute mile in the pool was not only a test of physical but mental endurance as well. I feel like they have all helped maintain my cardio fitness level.

But I still am not sure how to incorporate them into my weekly, monthly or yearly mile totals. Numbers, particularly miles, can be very important to runners.  We take pride in crossing certain mileage milestones (50 miles in a week, 1000 miles for the year, etc.), so I want to be able to use these numbers. In the last 2 weeks I put in nearly 70 miles on the elliptical, but only 5 (okay, 6 if you count the pool running) miles running.   I was tempted to add the elliptical miles to my totals but decided against it.

When I posed this question on dailymile, I received more questions than answers, most wanting to know what others did.  One person said that when they are forced to do something other than running, they go with logging the time and perceived effort.  That was the best, and quite frankly the only answer I received.

So, what do you do?  What is a mile on the elliptical worth? or in the pool?  Is there an exchange rate?

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