The Very Best Cross Training Ideas For Runners
Cross training is invaluable for runners of all shapes, sizes and speeds.
Here’s how to choose the best form of cross training for your running goals.
You Want To: Be More Powerful As A Runner
Try: Training With Weights
Women runners should all be adding some sort of resistance training into our weekly schedule – it’s great for bone density, offsetting osteoporosis, and helps maintain our metabolisms even as we age (plus it helps us stay firm and toned!) But training with weights can really boost your running power, and translate into faster race times and easier, smoother training runs. It doesn’t have to take long, we’re not talking hours in the gym. Just 30-45 minutes twice a week will do.
Try these moves to transform your running
– with a barbell or dumbbells: squat, lunge and deadlift
– with bodyweight: power-based moves like squat jumps, jump lunges, step ups and box jumps
You Want To: Run Hilly Route And Races More Efficiently
Have you got a bike gathering dust in the shed? Then get it serviced and get out on it. Road biking and mountain biking on trails is great for runners. It builds endurance and strength without impact, making it the ideal cross training for you even if you’re training for a race. Head for the hills, whether on a road bike or off-road, and you’ll very quickly see your bike training translate into more strength and power for hilly running races.
You Want To: Work On Your Sprint Finish For Races
There’s a reason the rowing machine at the gym is often empty… proper use of this bit of kit is tough! That’s why it should be in your cross-training routine. If you find that you can’t keep your race pace going right to the end in 5K, 10K or even longer races, you need to get on the rowing machine. Why? Not only does it challenge your aerobic system, but teaches you to keep your chest up and open and to breathe well even when working hard. Perfect training for a strong sprint finish. And the rowing machine works your legs, too, ideal for runners.
Try this short rowing workout:
– warm up for 5 minutes
– do 4 minutes of 20 seconds intense effort/10 seconds recovery rowing
– do 2 minutes recovery rowing at a moderate pace
– repeat 4 minutes of 20 seconds intense effort/10 seconds recovery rowing
– cool down
You Want To: Avoid Tight Muscles And Offset Injury
This might be an obvious one (especially for us ladies), but yoga really does have incredible benefits for runners, from stretching out tight hips and glutes, to strengthening the back and core, and even helping us relax so we recover better from running. If you want to keep running late into life, you need to stay flexible enough to lace up your trainers, rotate through your shoulders, and stride out strongly. Start now by adding yoga to your routine. Find a class, or use a DVD or online course. Hatha yoga is more relaxing, Ashtanga yoga is more challenging and stretchy, and hot yoga (apart from being more expensive!) is more challenging. Find what works for you.