I just want to run.
My life is busy and if it comes down to my run or cross training, I’m always going to run!
I hate the gym.
Admit it, at least one of statements have passed your lips since becoming a runner!
Personally, I used every single one of those for many years!! Sure I would do yoga here and there or remember to hoist up a weight once in awhile, but what it lacked: CONSISTENCY.
Tips to Stick With It
For those like me who may not LOVE cross training, but understand the benefits here is some of what I’ve found over the years to help make it part of my routine…
- I pick things that are going to make me a better runner! Then I’m more motivated to stick with it for the long haul.
- Others find that variety makes running even more enjoyable.
- Being determined to not get injured again.
- Hire a coach to hold you accountable.
- Schedule cross training classes as time to connect with friends.
- Get to know people in the gym, who will notice when you’ve been gone.
- Track your progress in terms of reps, body image, running power.
- A desire to build more muscle to improve overall body appearance.
- A goal to feel stronger, complete the pull up, do the full push up.
- And of course to run faster.
Until there is a benefit big enough to overcome your excuses, you’ll continue to find reasons not to commit. Read my post on how to stop relying on motivation!
Best Cross Training for Runners
Let’s be honest with distance running there are only so many hours or energy left in the day for cross training.
I love the following methods because of how they can improve our running, which I find keeps many of us motivated to stay on track.
Try a Vinyasa style class where the continual movement helps runners keep from feeling bored when initially transitioning to this slower workout style. Additionally, the focus on breathing can help you expand your lung capacity and keep you from feeling winded on runs. I’d also highly recommend Yin Yoga for truly resolving tight hips.
Focusing on a cadence of 90 RPM will help you become a better runner by increasing your foot turnover. 90 RPM mimics the desired 180 steps per minute recommended by most running coaches.
Most runners think of physical therapy exercises as a way to recover from injury, but I have found that by adding many of them to my routine I can stay out of the doctor’s office! Here are some of my favorite moves for the IT Band and hips:
This is another fantastic way to improve lung capacity and create core stability, which will help you run longer with better form. The low impact training can be an amazing way to stay on track during most injuries or to get in a cardio workout when you might need a break from intense run training.
These workouts develop strength, flexibility, muscular endurance, coordination, balance, and good posture — with a much lower chance of injury than with other forms of exercise. The discipline emphasizes correct form instead of going for the burn. With so many exercise variations and progressions, you may have a hard time getting bored with Pilates.
I admit to not being a fan of group classes for a long time, but lately I’ve started to realize that with the right instructor I love them. Feeling strong is very empowering and of course we need to get our strength training on to keep the hips strong, create arms that power us uphill and a core that will keep us from hunching over as we get tired during long runs.Life
That’s right your entire day can be part of cross training! From using a standing desk, to taking the stairs, to enjoying a hike or trying something new like paddle boarding. All of this keeps you from sitting, our enemy, and helps you engage different muscles.
Depending upon my current goals, the number of days I cross-train varies, but I like to do a full body strength training session three times a week in the beginning of a program and then reduce that as intensity increases. All other cross-training activities are added in a few times a week, also depending on program intensity.
Embrace At Home Workouts
One of the things which I have found to work best for MANY runners is doing it a home!
The plus side is you save time from traveling, no excuses about weather and you can control the intensity of your workout, which I think is key when it’s being done during race training plan.
However, if you don’t have some instruction you might find yourself doing the same body weight exercises or TRX exercises repeatedly….which is why I’m such a fan of tools like DVD programs like P90X or online programs like Grokker.com.
To get going at home, checkout these posts:
- Best cardio machines for runners to cross train
- How to create a basic home gym
- 27 Body Weight workouts for runners
How often do you cross train?
What’s your favorite cross training?
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