Cross Train to Complement and Enhance plus Nutella Hugs

by Joanne on December 7, 2011

When you have a few months in between key running events, it’s advantageous to rest those running muscles and strengthen connective tissue, maintain aerobic capacity but give the joints a rest.  You can keep your fitness level up while allowing your running body to rest.  Here’s how (source: Sparkpeople).

Complement Running:

Swimming:  Rest the overworked lower body and develop the upper body muscles by swimming.

Cycling:  This will tire out those legs but cycling focuses more on the quadriceps and shins as well as strengthening connective tissue in the knees, hips, and ankles.

Indoor Rowing:  This is a tough one and proper form is mandatory.  If you have access to a rower, use it. It’s absolutely great for developing those quads, strengthening hips  as well as the upper body.

Walking:  We all know that if you can’t run, you walk.  Walking is running in slow-mo.  Same muscles, lower impact.  Walk at a fast pace, shoulders back and relaxed, use your arm swing to walk quickly.  You can still get a great aerobic workout from walking.  Proper form and rigorous pace.

Three Exercises to Enhance Running:

Water Running:  This can be boring but it mimics running without the impact.  Get an aqua-belt and go for the deep end of the pool. Pretend you’re on the road running and make sure you’re making your way from one end of the pool to the other as if you were on a running track.

Elliptical Trainer:  Great for developing the core, legs, and arm swing.  It’s everyone’s favorite!

Cross Country Skiing:  This is for the peeps in the cold, blustery areas of the world.  Find some nice trails and work up a sweat.  Cross country skiing is challenging and a super aerobic workout. Arm swing and leg strength are the key items for development with this cross training technique.

What’s your cross training exercise of choice during your running “down” time?


A twist on the ever popular Peanut Butter Blossom cookies.


These little treats use Nutella, the hazelnut cocoa spread, topped with Hershey’s Hugs.


What a delight!


  • 1/2 cup Trans Fat Free all vegetable shortening
  • 13 oz (1 jar) Nutella
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Sugar for rolling
  • About 48 Hershey Hugs, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Cream the shortening, Nutella, and sugars.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Beat well.

Mix in the flour, soda, powder, and salt.  Mix until a dough is formed.  Shape into about 1 inch balls, roll in sugar and place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes.

In the meantime, unwrap the Hugs.

Remove the cookies form oven and immediately top each with one Hug.  Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool.


I think this recipe got me on the “Nutella Bandwagon”.  I’m in!


Are you a Nutella fan?  Do you spread it on bread or use it to bake up a lot of goodies?

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  • At 2011.12.07 07:54, Ali @ Peaches and Football said:

    Mmmm I’ve only tried Nutella once. I think some relatives gave us a food basket for Christmas one year and there was a jar. Very decadent and yummy. Now I eat my chocolate peanut butter. Also very dangerous.

    I love Hershey Hugs and these cookies look amazing!!

    • At 2011.12.07 11:51, Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D said:

      If I ate any of these (lovely looking) Nutella bites, I would indeed need to go swimming or

      Our family makes lots of cookies and candies for Christmas. These are not in the running. (Get it, running? Yeah, that’s as much exercise as I’ll be getting this season.)

      Our Linky party is still open if you want to include these cuties.

      • At 2011.12.07 22:41, Steph @ StephSnacks said:

        Can you believe I’ve never had Nutella?! I need to hop on this.

        • At 2011.12.08 17:52, Sophie said:

          MMMMMM,…those festive cookies look so appetizing & pretty too! 😉

          I love nutella but can’t digest the milk in there because of my lactose – intolernace so I don’t eat it often. But I think Nutella is the best brand out there!

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