The goal of cross training for running? It’s simple. You want to give yourself a chance to improve performance through recovery and variability. You don’t want to bombard your legs with running workouts exclusively. Talk about burnout — mentally and physically!
Why Cross Train?
Cross training doesn’t have to be formal. It can be as simple as working in a light recovery like walking the dog, or dedicating a day to dynamic stretching. Here’s where you give your body a chance to recuperate and take it easy, while still actively moving (even if it isn’t intense). Did you know that muscles actually increase in size and strength when they’re allowed to recover for repair?
Ideas for Cross Training
If you want to step it up a notch and train for variability, there are all kinds of great workouts you can include. Think swimming, cycling, martial arts, yoga, kayaking… the list goes on and on. With each of these workouts, you give your body a chance to rest from the repetitive running motion, but still train your aerobic systems, improving your cardio abilities. Swimming is an ideal impact-free, total body cardio workout. Yoga increases your range of motion with flexibility and stability training. Just imagine what good you’re doing your runner’s body by building all of these strengths!
Another excellent cross training option is strength training. Bodyweight workouts (think Circuit Training and Reps), core workouts (Total Core, anyone?!), dumbbells, and pull bands are great ways to build muscle and endurance. After these workouts, chances are the next time you run, you crush it harder!
Get Creative and Have Fun!
The real key to cross training is to get creative. The more you mix things up, the more likely you are to build your overall fitness while having fun along the way. Whatever you decide to alternate into your routine, just remember to take it easy from workouts related to running, and enjoy alternate workouts that challenge your heart and muscles!