Cross Training for Runners

athleteThe judgement is in.  You have been found: guilty.  Your sentence, no running for eight weeks.  You love running to the point at which your body was loving you back but you ignored the warning signs.  Injuries happen to even the best of runners.  If you want to avoid hearing those dreaded words, “You must stop running”, then you should pay attention to your body and consider cross training.  If you are unfortunately amongst those that have already heard those dreaded words then you are a little more restricted with your options.  As a runner you know what it is to push your body to the limits and love that feeling.  But sometimes pushing it to the limits can have its own limitations.

Yes, you have to run to become a better runner, but you can also help yourself along by incorporating a few cross training sessions to prevent injury.  Cross training is also critical and necessary to help heal an injury so you can get back to pounding the pavement or trails.  When considering cross training think about the specificity of the exercise, how similar is it to running.  You wouldn’t start training with wrestling to improve your running.  However, wrestling could be a fun pass-time while waiting at exchanges.  Otherwise, here are a few cross-training ideas to consider.  Please free to comment and share what has worked for you.

Road or indoor cycling is one of your best options for cross training.  Cycling works your muscles slightly different to help protect against muscular imbalances and prevent injury.  High-power bike intervals work your leg muscle even harder than uphill running, but without the impact of hard running.

Aqua Jogging
joggingAqua jogging or deep-water running is an excellent alternative to running on the ground.    There is no impact and it still stresses the cardiovascular system while working the entire body.  You can use an Aqua-jogger or attempt deep-water running without a flotation device.  The keys are to keep your body upright, maintain high turnover, have fun and be sure to avoid drowning!!!

Ok, so you think running in the pool sounds too easy, try swimming laps. As a die-hard runner who dons spandex on the streets, it is a little different in the water.  Swimming laps is fun, challenging and a great way to cross train your entire body.

Strength Training
Strength training is a great supplement and cross training tool to help a runner strengthen their muscles and joints, which can improve race times and decrease risk of injury.   You can use either your own body weight for resistance (e.g. push-ups), or traditional strength training with olympic weights.  It is also an excellent opportunity to strengthen your core, which helps runners avoid fatigue and maintain their form.

There are a few others to consider, these are just a few of my favorites.  The point is you can continue to train with certain injuries, while giving them proper time to heal.  Cross training can help injured runners maintain their fitness and deal better with frustration and disappointment of being sidelined from running.  Plus cross training helps with boredom and possible burnout.

Happy training.

About sherianne

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is SheriAnne Nelson and I am happily married to my husband Mike. I’m a mother of three beautiful children ages 9, almost 6, and 3, am a passionate fitness professional, and a Star Diamond Level fitness coach within the Team Beachbody program in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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