Cross training is defined as the exercise regimen that includes more than one mode of training.This is basically used by athletes in order to increase and improve one’s performance. It could be a great element if you wish to add something new and yet challenging aspect to your training. For runners, the benefit of cross-training is just manifold. In this article we will be quoting every benefit that cross training could do to the runner in you.
1. Prevention of Injury
Injuries and especially overuse injuries are a staple if you are a regular runner. You could avoid most of them with proper care, precaution, but it is sometimes inevitable.This is where cross-training enters the picture. It is often noticed that four main factors affect and cause most of the runner’s injuries.
- Scanty recover period: Sometimes adequate time is not invested in the rest phase from one run to the next.
- Physical irregularities: this could include the stride length, leg length discrepancy.
- Muscular imbalances: Having tight hamstrings or maintaining a weak quadriceps.
- Improper footwear: this is a major area that causes injuries and could be easily avoided with some thought and planning.
For a beginner cross training could be immensely helpful as it helps in developing the required strength, flexibility and balance that a runner needs to master. As your body is not adjusted to the immense pressure that the knees, ankles and lower back will be going through, it is significant that you condition and strengthen the muscles. This could be achieved by a combination of walking, using elliptical machines, so that the endurance and flexibility is achieved slowly but steadily.
It is always better to get your fitness level conditioned before you start running on a daily basis. Your joints will thank you later for sure. The cross training makes it easy for you to get accustomed with running and for veteran runners it will improve the performance and speed.
2. Aids in Rehabilitation
Cross training helps with rehabilitation in two different ways. The initial part is by helping with maintaining the fitness even while running less and latter is in the process of rehabilitation of the injury. It is normal to feel that the fitness level you maintained will be totally lost if not worked on but you are in the sticky situation of not being able to put in more effort. AT such times, cross training is your true saviour. You could opt for water running, elliptical, or even bicycling depending on your injury. This is a great way of maintaining and to slowly ease into a fitness regime.
3. Improved Runner Performance
Cross training is extremely important as a runner as it helps in increasing your pace which is definitely a worthy motivation. A runner’s ability would be more polished with the right cross training regime than just running exercises. The efficiency, power are all the elements that could be elevated with the added benefit of fighting the fatigue of muscles. What better can you ask for, better efficiency, power and lesser chances of getting injured, all by just incorporating some cross training routines.
4. Stride of Motivation
Even if you are the most passionate runner out there, there is going to be one fine day you need that extra stride of motivation and this could be fulfilled by the cross training. The enthusiasm you feel for the running could be maintained by cross training as it helps you run more and harder, better making it easy to love the run. Getting or seeing results adds on more bounds of motivation that could help you get through the runs. So be that runner who does cross training exercises and runs along with it. Anything you can do to increase your motivation for training is worth doing.
5. Act of Rejuvenation
If you are a professional runner, it goes without saying that you wouldn’t be running all the seasons. The off seasons are the key to rejuvenation and proper rest. Any sort of new movements that your body is not aware of, is amazing. So if you fancy a new movement, how about try and practice some cross training. This would definitely be a warm welcome for your body and you will surely feel rejuvenated and all pumped for the regular routine.It could be anything from a sport like basketball, swimming, lifting weights, yoga, Pilates that you could totally enjoy.
6. For a Fit and Healthy Pregnancy
Gone are the days when women were advised to just stay low through the pregnancy. Nowadays there are pregnant runners or even postpartum runners. Competitive female runners always opt for an aerobic exercise routine as it usually substitutes the endurance activities and helps them push through the run harder.
What Are the Best Cross-Training Exercises for Runners?
It is crucial to understand that if your goal is to improve the running performance, investing your time in the right cross training exercise will do the trick.
So here is a list of exercises that could help you elevate your running performance and increase your cardiovascular output.
Cycling or biking helps in improving your fitness, endurance, stamina without much pressure and wearing of the leg muscles.The cardiac output is also improved with the activity making it a great cross training exercise.
These could very easily mimic running outside but with better benefits. The pressure on joints is minimal and serves as a low impact alternative which could increase endurance.
This activity is majorly focusing on the cardiovascular benefits it adds to the running even though it doesn’t mimic running in the right sense.
This is a very low impact but effective cardiovascular exercise that could benefit the runners. If you are a beginner or are injured, walking could be the best option to build endurance, stamina.
This is a great alternative yet fun filled cross training exercise. It alleviates pressure from the joints and works actively on multiple muscle groups.In long term this could help in improving the runner’s performance.