Cross training is very important, for several reasons:
It can improve your running – If you’ve been running for a long time, you know that it’s easy to plateau after awhile. Cross training with other types of activity can improve your speed, your form, and your endurance. You’ll be surprised at what this can do for you!
It can help you avoid injury – If all you do is run, it’s so easy to overtrain the same muscle groups over and over, which can lead to injuries. Running long distances without ever trying other forms of exercise is a great way to get injured, even if you stretch diligently and eat right. Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent this with just a little cross training.
It can help you become more fit overall – Along with preventing injury, cross training is important because you need to work the whole body. Running honestly doesn’t do a great job of that. A variety of activities mean that your whole body gets a great workout, and you become stronger and fitter than with running alone.
Types of cross training: Any physical activity other than your main sport (running) counts as cross training. Here are some great suggestions for activities you can try.
Cycling – get on that bike! This is a great alternative to running, and a good way to get exercise into a busy day, if you’re close enough to school or work for a bike commute!
Weight lifting – Many runners who have started lifting now swear by it. It will revolutionize your running. You’ll become stronger, faster, and leaner than you ever imagined, if you’ve stuck with just running until now. Many people at the gym are happy to show you the basics, and most gyms offer an introductory deal on personal training – so don’t be intimidated by those weights – girls or guys!
Swimming – who doesn’t love a good swim! Give those running muscles a break and get in the pool. If it’s too cold to swim outdoors where you live, many gyms and local rec centers offer terrific indoor pools.
Bodyweight training – Good old push ups, squats, and other calisthenics are great for upping your running game. Quick, easy, and free, these exercises require no special equipment. Check online for an almost unlimited number of suggestions, and get back to the basics!
Sports – Take a tennis lesson, join your company softball team, look for a local soccer or volleyball league, go kayaking with your buddies, or play some football in the yard with the kids! Check out an indoor trampoline park, or try your hand at rock climbing! Sure, there’s running involved in most of these activities, but you’ll work more major muscle groups, plus they are just plain FUN!
For some ideas to get started – enjoy the video below!