When you hear the words cross training, what do you think of? Most runners would probably
think that cross training will help with injury prevention, which is absolutely true. But there are
many other reasons why cross training is so important while you are conditioning for your race.
Here are my top 5 reasons why I love to see runners cross train:
1) INJURY PREVENTION. Overuse injuries are typical among runners. When you are out
there pounding the pavement over and over, you are using the same muscles, repeating
the same motion and posture, and sometimes not giving your body enough recovery
time. By adding in some strength training and different types of cardio into your training
plan, you are enhancing your performance. Hopping on an elliptical gives your ankles a
break. Doing some core work will help strengthen your back and abdominals to improve
posture. Lifting weights can help improve muscle imbalance. It doesn’t need to be
intense, but 20 minutes a couple times a week can really help.
2) SPICE IT UP! Incorporating different types of exercise will prevent the dreaded burn out
that we can feel when we are doing the same thing over and over again. How exciting
would it be to go for a swim in the lake or take a fitness class? Plus, you are learning
new skills which is exercising the brain as well.
3) BALANCE. When you incorporate different exercises, you will have a better muscular
balance. We want to make sure that all of our muscle groups are getting attention. An
overdeveloped set of muscles can lead to injury since the stronger parts of your body will
be overcompensating for the weaker parts.
4) RECOVERY. When you are unable to run due to injury, there are many nonimpact
forms of exercise that will allow you to keep your cardio fitness strong. Replacing a run
with a bike ride during recovery for example, will allow you to get back on the road more
swiftly and efficiently.
5) RUN FASTER. Another benefit of strength training with added jumping drills and
plyometrics, is increased power. When you translate that power into stride power, it
means greater length in your stride, less pavement time, and an overall faster time.
Changing things up with your workouts doesn’t mean you have to dedicate a lot more time to
your training. Again, adding on 20 minutes of strength training to a shorter run or replacing your
lowest mileage run for a bootcamp workout will only enhance your running performance. It
keeps you feeling balanced, refreshed, and stronger mentally and physically.
PS Questions are always welcome!