Running Tips – Cross-Training For Runners

July 10, 2012 0 Comments

By Judy Mick

The definition of cross-training is any activity that you do to supplement your main exercise activity. You can benefit from this whether you are just starting your running program or if you have been running for years. Read on to find out how cross-training benefits runners and different ways you can achieve this.

Running basically just uses a few of your muscle groups. The muscles that you don’t use can become weaker than your running muscles and the imbalance can cause injuries. Cross-training helps you strengthen those muscles that you don’t use for running.

Cross-training is also a great way to keep up your fitness during your running rest days. Many runners feel that if they take a day off from running that they will lose fitness levels. Doing another form of exercise on those days will help with that. Most runners will some other activity 1-2 days a week.

Also, if you have an injury, you may be able to do certain cross-training exercises that won’t further aggravate your injury. Doing this will also help you to maintain your fitness level while you are recuperating.

Here are some cross-training activities that you can incorporate into your fitness program:

Swimming is one of the activities that many runners do. It is not a form of weight-bearing exercise and, therefore, will give your joints a break. It also improves your upper body strength. Many runners take on swimming as cross-training to move on to triathlon training.

Weight training is a great way to improve your running. You can target your non-running muscles and strengthen them. It is also a great way to help get stronger overall, which will help you maintain proper running form. This is my favorite form of cross-training. In addition to strengthening non-running leg muscles, I also love to do upper body weights. This helps with arm pumping which will help get you up hills better on your runs.

A super activity for your running rest days is simply walking. Walking is great for your rest days – especially if the day before was a longer run or you did speed work.

Whether you are recovering from an injury or you want to become a stronger, more efficient runner – cross-training is excellent for you. You don’t want to over-do what you do on these days – remember they are a supplement to your running and supposed to be a rest/easy day.

Running is a simple sport – but there are also many things that you need to know and be aware of. Download my free report Injuries and Runners for other tips to help you stay injury free. Also, sign up for my Free weekly newsletter at Runner For Life for advice to stay out on the roads and keep running for life.

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