4 Benefits of Adding Cross Training to Your Running Routine


Appleton Store Employee Rhea heading out for a ride

According to Merriam-Webster.com, to cross-train is “to engage in various sports or exercises especially for well-rounded health and muscular development.” Cross training provides several benefits to runners:

1) Injury Prevention

Cross training provides your body with active recovery, giving your body break from its regular running motion. It also strengthens muscles not reached through running alone. A majority of running injuries are a result of overuse, muscle imbalances and improper footwear. Getting a proper pair of shoes  is an easy step in the right direction, but it also takes being intentional about strengthening the supporting muscles used in running to keep you running healthy. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons encourages cross training to prevent overuse injuries.

2) Maintain Fitness during an Injury

Getting injured during the peak of your training program can be devastating, but did you know that cross training can keep you from losing everything you’ve worked for while you recover? Check out this article on Aquajogging.

3) Variety is the Spice of Life

Finding yourself putting off your midweek run? Dragging your feet out the door? Add a cross training workout to your week to mix up your workout and refresh your mind. When you head out for your next run, you’ll have a little more pep to your step.

4) Improve Your Overall Running Fitness

“But if I am not actually running, how can cross training  improve my running fitness?” Cross training improves overall running fitness in a variety of ways, depending on what activities you choose to do when you cross train. If you choose to practice yoga, it will help align your muscles and bones, improving your posture and gait (running form). Spinning helps to improve your leg turnover, and in turn boosts your running speed.

In summary, cross training keeps you running stronger, for longer!

Examples of cross training include, but are not limited to: cycling, weight training, yoga, swimming, group exercise classes, and elliptical

My favorite cross training workout is called “2-1s” while inside on a spin bike (though this workout could also be done in a pool, on an elliptical or outside on a bike)

Warm up

2 minutes hard, 1 minute easy – 7 times

10 minutes recovery spinning

2 minutes hard, 1 minutes easy – 7 times

Cool down

Do you add cross training into your workout regimen? What is your favorite cross training workout? We would love for you to share it with us in the comments below!

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