The Best Cross Training Options for Runners
Have you are are you signed up for a race? 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon? Chances are, you have your training plan and schedule in front of you, pinned up to your wall, added to your calendar, with “cross-training” or “XT” included. On days off from running, what are the best options to cross train? We have a couple ideas for you here at Sandy Feet Events!
What is the purpose of cross training? While cross training, runners use and strengthen their muscles differently, and often strengthen muscles that they normally are not used while running. Cross training allows you to continue to strengthen your body, create balance, and as a result, reduces your risk of injury.
Cycling, whether it is indoors on a stationary bike or outdoors on the road or trails, is considered a low impact activity, which is a great contrast to the high impact of running. Cycling strengthens your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and shin muscles, while also strengthening the deep connective tissues found in your joints–knees, ankles, hips. Additionally, bicycle intervals allows runners to work on speed that a runner can mimic and remember while running.
While there are different styles of yoga, it is important to note that Yin yoga targets the deep connective tissues in your body in order to improve flexibility and prevent injury, while Yang yoga is more active and aims to strengthen muscles. In any form, yoga emphasizes the importance of alignment, corrects muscle imbalances, and most importantly, cultivates awareness.
Swimming is another activity that is considered low-impact and strengthens the upper body. According to Runners’ World, “swimming can help runners develop more inherent stability because, over time, it can strengthen a lot of core muscles that aren’t typically activated while running.”
Often forgotten, walking is another fantastic cross-training option. According to Jeff Galloway and his run-walk method, walking allows you to stretch your endurance levels. If you think about it, often we can walk for a much longer period of time than we can run; utilizing this knowledge can create endurance and perseverance in your body and mind.
What is your favorite way to cross train?