Why I Cross Train to Stay In Running Shape (and tips to get you started)
As most runners start planning out their summer training regimen and picking up their mileage, I like to easy into my high mile weeks and incorporate some cross training to help me stay super strong for my future long runs. Like most of us runners, we tend to think that all we need to do is to run to get faster, or put on a lot of mileage to get better or reach out Boston Qualifying times. Over the years I've learned that the body takes time to feel good again (especially after those marathons). As excited as I am to start really putting in the hour or more runs, I like to get in a good combo of strength conditioning and exercises, cycling, and yoga!
Doing different things on a daily basis, helps me stay focused on the running, strong, keeps it fun, and allows me to work on some potentially weak muscles. I like work up to maximizing my body's potential in small increments. I've learned from my college days that our bodies can sometimes be overworked, we can start dreading daily running to where it can end up being a chore.
If you are a super avid runner, I would encourage really trying to balance out another exercise into your regimen! Here's why:
- Reduce likelihood of injuries
- Better bounce back (and faster!)
- Improve endurance
- More efficient with biomechanics
Ways I am cross training and try to reach all of these benefits through:
- Cycling- 2 times per week to reduce injuries and improve endurance
- Yoga/meditation- 1 time per week to get better with flexibility
- Strength conditioning- 2-3 times per week to help me have better bounce back and improve efficiency of stride and my biomechanics
Pressed on time? or feel like it's too much? Some days I definitely feel like it is a lot to do but normally I try to kill two birds with one stone to get this all done. A few ways I try to incorporate all of this:
- Cycle at the gym that I am going to strength condition at
- Find a studio to take a yoga class at. There are also plenty of free yoga classes or low cost one throughout the weekends. I can typically find info on their social media platforms on IG (or via my friends @fitnessintheloop)
- If I want to change up my running scheduling with cycling instead, I do the same for cycling as I do for yoga.
- Plan to go to the gym immediately after work once during the work week and on the weekend.
- Have fun with my cross training! Sometimes I'l come across other fun classes or activities that I want to take and sub it for one of the above (dancing at Dance House Fitness, boxing, rowing, rollerblanding, etc. )
Again, try to find balance with your workout regimen, work, and life schedule. It may take some time for you to find a right amount or lengths that work best for you. But be patient! There are some weeks that I don't get a yoga session in, or am able to run mostly, cycle and strength train once, and thats okay! The most important thing is that you get to utilize this time to make your body stronger, rest, and heal itself for your next big athletic adventure.
Now get to training!