Get your Cross-Train on: Run, Spin, Lift, Eat, Sleep, Repeat.

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! πŸ˜€

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 aΒ naaastyΒ 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! πŸ™‚

    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?!



14 responses to “Get your Cross-Train on: Run, Spin, Lift, Eat, Sleep, Repeat.

  1. This is great! I struggle with cross training mostly because I can’t do a lot of the traditional exercises like elliptical or bike without my knee pain flaring up again. But yoga and weight training are two things I have recently added into my workout schedule and I’m noticing a huge difference! Not to mention aqua jogging on Wednesdays in place of running. It’s the perfect recovery “run”.

    • Do you get knee pain with those things and not running?! wow I thought running would hurt that too!
      I’ve got a little bit of plantar fasciitis at the moment, so I’m incorporating more cross training than ever because I refuse to get injured!

      I’ve discovered a love for weight training over the last year, and love that it makes me feel so much stronger!

      yoga I’ve just started too, so chilled out and different to my usual workouts πŸ™‚

      • Yep, I’m the weird person that feels pain doing those “less impactive” activities but not running. They thought I had a tear from twisting during flip turns but apparently there was nothing there! Yoga works though πŸ™‚

      • that’s so weird! I wish I was one of those “weird people” who didn’t feel any of the aches or pains during runs, I’d be the happiest girl alive πŸ˜‰
        have you ever Had any injuries?
        and do you do cross country or track or something similar?

      • Haha but i’m also the weird person nobody knows what’s wrong with me so that’s tough. I haven’t had any running injuries that have kept me out for more than a day or two. last summer I had some groin problems and didn’t run for a month but that’s because I didn’t let it heal. And I do both xc and track- indoor and outdoor πŸ™‚

      • Oh my gosh, that is so annoying! I still get random pains and aches where my stress fracture was, which is insane because I did everything the doctor said and let it heal; and it comes and goes! So i know what it’s like to not know what the hell is going on… haha.

        Ohh okay, wow lucky you with the lack of injuries! I think for me, it’s about finding the right pair of shoes or orthotics for my feet, pronation and way I run… still working on perfecting that one! Using asics at the moment and just got some insoles, so fingers crossed!

        I used to really want to do cross country! Don’t know why I didn’t, at school I was a really good 100-400 metre sprinter πŸ™‚
        now I prefer running long distances.
        Have you done hlaf marathons etc?

      • I’ve done one so far and I’m signed up for two more this summer πŸ™‚ The longer the race, the happier I am

      • woo how exciting! I just love the adrenaline and sense of achievement of racing, I’m addicted! and it all pays off after training so hard πŸ™‚
        I did the nike she runs last year, and I’m doing the 10K one this year;
        next on the list is a half marathon! scary but so exciting πŸ™‚

  2. I do Pilates first and running second. I only started running a few months ago so I haven’t even gotten in more than 8 miles yet. Some day.

    Great post! I agree about the weight training especially. I’d pick Pilates over Yoga. πŸ˜‰

    • hey there!

      I’ve tried Pilates once, haven’t had a chance to get into it, I do hear that it’s great for muscle strength and conditioning, whereas yoga is more about chilling out and stretching.. but there’s heaps of different kinds!

      oh wow, 12 miles?! in a few months? that is incredible, go girl! you are obviously naturally good at it πŸ™‚
      I’ve been running for a couple of years, and only recently getting a bit more serious about it.
      the most I’ve run is 12 miles so good on you!


  3. I completely agree that cross training is so import ants. When I just used to run I was always getting injuries, now I run and cycle (run 25km/ wk, cycle 70-90) and do yoga I don’t get injured (touch wood), UNLESS I fall off my bike:) One really can’t just pound the pavements day in and day out it is too hard on the body but wow we need that endorphin high from somewhere!

    • that sounds like such a smart schedule! I do alot of spin now, because I’ve been injured so many times in my really short running career so far haha, but hopefully as I go on I learn so much about running an preventing injuries, it’s getting me down so much 😦
      which injuries did you have?
      variety is the spice of life anyway, so cross training keep things fresh πŸ˜‰

  4. Great topic. I have to admit that I heart cross-training (*hangs runner head in shame*)…except strength training days. My current favourites are jumping on the spin bike or using the elliptical. Back when I had Les Mills at my gym, I loved body attack. Loved.

    • spin and cycle classes have been my loves for so long too! ain’t no shame in that πŸ˜‰
      body attack is the most FUN class, and just the energy levels and motivation is through the roof when you’ve got a fantastic instructor and everyone’s whooping Etc πŸ˜›
      on any given week though I have to choose between body attack or running as my high impact exercise; learnt the hard way not to do both!

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