Why hello, how are we all on this fine Sunday morning?
I woke up at 10am, and it was the most glorious feeling knowing I don’t have to be anywhere for another few hours; I could just lay in bed and not feel guilty about being lazy. After my lack of sleep this week, I definitely needed to catch up on some, and I’m finally feeling like a human being again! 😀
Now, the weekend is a perfect time to talk about cross-training for runners; because so many runners schedule their daunting, but equally as adrenaline-pumping, long runs for the weekend- and we look forward to them (or dread them!) all week.
I know us runners can be so stubborn. All we want to do is run, it’s what we love, and we just don’t feel like we get the same amazing benefits, both physically and mentally, out of any other sport or exercise.
We’re addicted to that runner’s high, and how it makes us feel like we’ve achieved something spectacular, we feel happy, strong, and almost like we’re invinceable.
But, alas, in order to make sure we’re the best runners we can be, and to help us keep on improving and smashing our PR’s, we need to include some cross-training into our workout schedule.
If we push ourselves too hard, and pound the pavement day after day, we’re setting ourselves up for a naaasty running injury that could set us back for months- take it from me, I ran myself into the group and got a lovely femoral stress fracture out of it to show for my overtraining!
Cross-training can help us runners build muscle power and strength, improve our flexibility, our endurance and running economy. On top of all those fabulous benefits, we’re reducing drastically the risk of pesky, or sometimes serious, running injuries.
And hey, all this sounds amazing, why not give it a go anyway?!
Here’s some great ideas for cross-training for runners:
- Spinning or cycling- On the bike, you’re able to up the resistance, and work those leg muscles even harder than uphill running, but just without the added impact on the joints and muscles.
It’s been found that runners who included this training method a few times a week, for 6 weeks, improved their 10K times. So you’re also learning to become a speedier runner, without even running! Crazy, crazy science…
- Weight training- This could mean you give the free weights a go at your gym (after a demo from a PT), or attend a few Body Pump classes a week. It helps a runner to make their running muscles much stronger, and better able to support them while running, as well as correcting imbalances between weaker muscles. You can also strengthen your core, which helps you to avoid fatigue and keep your posture and form in check on those long, gruelling runs.
- Yoga– It’s a great way to continue strengthening muscles, as you’re using the resistance of your own body weight. You also get the chance to become more flexible through stretching. Plus, yoga’s an amazing way to wind down after a stressful day, and is so relaxing. Win-win-win, I think?!When focussing on the aerobic and cardiovascular side of cross-training, pick activities that match running pretty closely in terms of the muscles and aerobic systems.
This could include: spinning (like I’ve mentioned), the elliptical, water running. Remember to keep your heart rate at 70% of your maximum heartrate!
If you haven’t figured that one out, a general rule is 220 minus your age. And BAM: there it is! 🙂
I know sometimes for me, being a loyal and passionate runner, cross-training can make me die a little bit on the inside… especially when I’m injured and hating on the world anyway, giving intense glares to all the runners that go past me.
But the more we can incorporate cross-training in, the stronger we’ll become, and the more we’ll smash those times in races!
Get your cross-train on!
What’s your go-to, favourite way to cross-train as a runner?
How many times a week/kilometres per week do you run roughly?
How about classes at your gym, which ones do you love?!