Don't Forget to Cross Train!


An important element of training that often gets neglected by runners is cross-training. A typical training plan will incorporate a couple of rest and/or cross-training days. Remember what I said in the previous posting; be sure to use your rest days for rest. But, what should you be doing on your cross-training days? You know when you go to the all-you-can-eat buffet and there stretched before you is an entire bounty of goodies? You also know how that bounty includes some healthy choices and a whole lot of not-so-healthy-choices? Well, cross-training is just like that.


Running is a high-impact activity and it can take its toll on your body. Thus the need for cross-training: low-impact activities that continue to strengthen the body and workout the cardiovascular system without pounding your joints. Cross-training also allows you to work on other muscle groups that might never be addressed with just running. This helps your overall conditioning and makes you a stronger runner.

On your cross-training days, you need to make sure you're making "good choices" for your cross-training activities. Even though your cross-training activities will be low-impact, you can still become injured. Know your limitations. For example, if it's three weeks before your marathon, you probably don't want to start using the stair master machine at the gym for the very first time, nor do you want to bench press that 300lbs for the very first time. Listed below are some typical cross-training activities.

Cross-Training Activities for Running:


Walking (treadmill or outside)
Elliptical Trainer
Deep Water Running
Rowing Machine
Nordic Track Ski-Simulator
Weight Training

Be sure to add a variety of cross-training activities to your training routine in order to obtain more balanced, overall conditioning. If you have two cross-training days a week in your training program, try to alternate upper body and lower body cross-training activities such as using the elliptical machine and the rowing machine. Or, include an activity such as yoga that may workout both the upper and lower body.

If you belong to a gym, consult with one of the fitness instructors and let them know your need for some cross-training activities to compliment your running program. They'll be able to help select the cross-training activities best suited for your needs.


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