Injury Management

The Benefits of Cross Training for Runners

female athlete swimming in pool to cross train
Swimming is a great way to cross train for running!

As a runner, it can be very beneficial to cross train — the practice of training in more than one skill — into your workouts. Did you know you’d be an even stronger runner by including some yoga, strength training, rowing, pilates, boxing, and/or hill sprints into your routine? With just a few added activities chosen based on your specific body type and areas in need of improvement, you’ll see — and feel — the benefits. And there are many of them!

Cross train to stay injury-free

More than 50% of running injuries are caused by muscle imbalance — causing stressed muscles to break down. Let’s say you’re one of those people who experiences knee pain following a run. Chances are, it’s caused by tight quads and hip flexors and underactive glutes. Your tight quad pulls up on your kneecap and the lack of glute engagement causes your other muscles to work harder. All of this leads to improper muscle recruitment – and injury. A fitness program that includes lots of glute and hip strengthening would be ideal to remedy this situation. (Think Gixo’s Booty Work class — a great way to activate the three muscles that make up the glutes.)

Cross train to improve your fitness

When you’re training for a specific event, you may notice that while you’ve become very proficient in that one skill, doing any other form of activity feels really hard. Your muscles and energy system haven’t been trained to work in a different way. When you cross train, you can create a balanced fitness program — incorporating strength, flexibility, plyometrics, and balance training. Not only will this improve your running, it will help you perform well in other activities too. Why not start out by incorporating a Strength Tabatas or a yoga workout into your routine. We can’t help but think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how it transforms your running.

Cross train to enhance motivation

Learning a new skill can be exciting. But at first it can also be frustrating. That’s when digging in and practicing is a must. As you branch out and try new things, you’ll find that getting better feels good — even fun. And mixing things up can be great if those repeated runs start to feel a bit boring. After the race you’ve been training for is over, try something new. Pick up weightlifting or give sprints a go. Set new goals for learning new forms of exercise. It’s a great way to keep workouts consistent — and challenging!

At Gixo, we recommend that you start with one to two days a week of cross-training in addition to your runs. You can build up those workouts as you get stronger and find the ones that are most beneficial to you. So let us know your goals, and — as always — we’ll help you find the perfect Gixo classes to help you achieve them!

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