April 14, 2022
13 MIN

‍Benefits of Cross Training for Runners‍

Benefits of Cross Training for Runners

Runners love to run! This is a universal fact. Sometimes it is hard to think about anything else when you are a runner. But… there are lots of great benefits for runners to incorporate cross training into their repertoire. Cross training can be good both physically and mentally for runners. 

What IS cross training? Cross Training is a sport other than your primary sport.  Here is a list of some, but not all cross-training activities: Swim/aqua jog/ elliptical/ cycling/spinning/ pilates/ walking/ rowing/ strength training/ yoga/ hiking/ skating.

Now let’s break it down even further to make it specific to runners. Elliptical and spinning mimic running mechanics closely so could be used to substitute for running if an injury has occurred. Strength training is supplementary and should be used to supplement a running routine. Swimming and yoga are complimentary and might be used as recovery.

Here are some general benefits to adding in some cross training to the running regimen.

• Balance muscle groups- cross training strengthens muscles that are less used during running

• Maintain or even improve cardiovascular fitness

• Reduce chance of injury because of balancing weaker muscles with stronger ones

• Avoid boredom of always running

• Training can continue if injured by swapping running with swimming or aqua jogging to allow injuries to heal

The primary cause of injury for runners include muscular imbalances, biomechanical irregularities, and overuse/overtraining. Biomechanical irregularities are quirks in running form such as overpronation, supination, and uneven hips, to name a few. These can result in injury after time and lots of running.

Cross training is an answer to these problems! By moving the body in a different motions than running can help strengthen muscles and smooth out imbalances. There is a reduction of high impact on muscles and joints when substituting other activities for running.

When should cross training occur?

If you are running 3-4 days a week you could cross train and supplement with strength training 2-3 days per week. If you are running 4-6 days a week you could switch out an easy run for cross training or a rest day 1-2 times per week. A 40-60 minute cross training day could include 20- 30 minutes of cross training activities and then 15-20 minutes of strength.  Cross training could include a bike ride or a hike on the weekend.

Have fun with cross training and stay injury free!