As a runner what is the one thing that you fear? Yes, you got us, it's the throbbing running injury. A running injury is a big no! An injury while running can be painful and that injury staying with you for weeks can be even worse! Well, now there is a way that can help you avoid this, make you fit and fall in love with your workout. Runners combine various fitness activities together, which is the new way to train and helps each muscle in their body to work out, isn’t that just awesome? What’s this called – Circuit Training or Cross Training for runners? If you are bored running or if you wish to de-stress your lower leg limbs, cross training is the answer for all! Come let’s decode in and out of heart-pumping cross training.
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What is Cross Training?
Ask any fitness freak on how to stay fit, they would recommend cross training! Cross training, this word is used very often by people who train regularly, fitness freaks and athletes. The other name for this is Circuit training.
Cross training is a way of getting fit by combining various fitness activities together to reach the goal of staying fit. When you say cross training during running it simply means that you are combining other activities such as swimming, cycling, playing a sport or joining a fitness class like Zumba or Yoga and continuing with your running activity as well. In short blending of other sports with your running!
Cross training for runners helps in building your core, enhances your strength and improves the flexing of your muscles. You know this- Running cannot do everything for the body. And that’s why cross training is incorporated to utilize all your body parts and strengthen them.
Want to know what’s the best thing about cross training?
Well, when you are doing various activities on a regular basis your workout becomes a lot more fun and helps you become fit and healthy in a more enjoyable way.
Cross Training for Runners - A Necessity
Cross training for runners is a necessity because it will help them do a full body workout. Here are four easy ways to do the same:
- There are a lot of fun ways of cross training for runners. You can use the cross-country ski machines, spinning or stationary bikes, use an elliptical or indulge in fabulous aqua jogging. All this help in strengthening the muscles, cardio and overall fitness of the body. Cool right?
- A serious talk- it is necessary to maintain your heart rate when you train. Ideally, you should maintain it between 65% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. You can calculate the rate by 220 minus your age. So just work hard and sweat it out!
- Heart rate is the key element when you train. Always wear a heart rate monitor while running. Make it a habit to check your morning heart rate regularly. If you have an aggravated heart rate in the morning itself, it means that you’ve been training more than what is required.
- Get the best of both worlds by blending in both running and cross training. Make sure that you have a mixed fitness routine. It is recommended that you combine your running and cross training activities to get the best results.
Runners, just be sure that the cross-training techniques don’t over power your running. It should be a mix of both to build the endurance that you need.
Benefits of Cross-Training
This kind of training has a lot of benefits which can be duly observed right from the start of your fitness regime. As this type of training uses various forms of activities it helps in overall fitness of an individual, there are very fewer chances of an injury to occur and it is more enjoyed than the regular fitness of going to the gym and following a specific routine.
Cross training needs to be approached with endurance, power, and tenacity just like the way runners approach their way to being fit. With cross training, what you can also avoid is the immense pressure which the hamstrings face when you run, neglecting the upper body and low flexibility of the body. Cross training for runners means usage of full body and therefore is was more beneficial than just running. Cross training is your way to have a better cardio, improve your muscle strength and fastens your recovery.
How to Incorporate Cross-Training into Your Fitness Plan
If you want to protect your body from injuries then you should have a proper plan too! These pointers would help you understand better
- Eat right! Yes, staying healthy is very important when you combine cross training with running. Once this becomes your priority things will automatically fall in place and your training will show better and desired results.
- Say bye – bye to injuries. As cross training is a way that helps each of your muscle work out falling prey to an injury is rare here. Just make sure you exercise the right way.
- Have a work out that is a combination of power, endurance, and speed. This will make your cross training with running a lot more enjoyable and result oriented.
- Make water your best friend! Get into that pool and work out. This will make you a lot more flexible, build your strength and there isn’t a chance of injury in here.
- Keep changing your routines frequently. You can have a weekly schedule or even a daily one for that matter. Decide what you love doing the most and add it to your routine to make the most of your effort.
17 Cross-Training Activities
Here’s a list of 16 exciting and loved cross training activities which will help your fitness regime become a lot more fun!
1. Biking or Cycling
Biking helps in Cardio and recovery. This will work on your leg muscles and build up on your endurance. It is a good substitute for running and you can still manage a good aerobic workout. Just keep in mind to get a bike that fits you like a perfect pair of shoes! Right bike is the key for a perfect workout.
2. Paddle Board Class
The stand-up paddle board class will help you build on strength. This is more stability building. It can get tiring as you must stand on a board and work your legs out but hey, isn’t that the point of mixing cross training with running.
3. Downhill Skiing
This will help you build your core and increase the strength. This will help in building a posture and stability when you’re coming down from the hill. Do it for a couple of hours for building your quad strength.
But it has a con!
The only drawback is that there can be a possibility of you over working your leg muscles and hurt yourself. Do a short warm up before you start this activity.
Pump up your energy for some energetic workout! This is the latest trend which is loved by all.
Zumba helps in a good cardio work out and increases your strength. It works on the hip stabilizing muscles which are important when you run. It works on muscles groups together and strengthens them. As this has low aerobic intensity and can over exert your leg muscles.
5. Cross Country Skiing
This is your way to get the perfect cardio. It’s got high aerobic requirement and works on large muscle groups. It is your perfect substitute to running.
6. Lawn Tennis
Want some heart pounding workout?
Then play tennis and exhale your energy. This sport means intense cardio. It is rigorous work out that lets you stay fit and in shape. Make sure you don’t injure your legs when playing this sport as it involves high usage of leg muscles.
This cross training workout is for beach babies!
This activity is for increasing your strength. It involves in increasing your core strength, helps you maintain a balance and increase in getting a better lower body.
Hate those sudden muscle pull that you get after running? You are skipping on the stretches!
But you can indulge in holistic yoga which is the best way to stretch your body before an exhilarating run. Moreover, it is a surefire way to get a flexible body! Yoga is a slow but a comforting process for staying fit. It will allow you to flex your muscles in a certain way which is necessary to stay fit.
9. Going on Walks
This is a process which will help you in recovery. Take your dog for a walk for better results. Walking with your dog will help you speed up and maintain it. This will also depend on what breed your dog is and how big is it. Go ahead and find out how to train your dog for a run?
10. Martial Arts
Want to learn how to coordinate your mind and body? Well, the answer is martial arts!
Martial arts is a way to utilize your lower body and strengthen it. Strengthen your body, reflexes and enhance your running skills.
Bed rest after a running injury can be a pain! But you can definitely indulge in lower aerobic exercise- Golf. Recover your muscles with this perfect cross training exercise.
Need a break from your chaotic lifestyle? Get going for kayaking.
It helps in recovery and strengthening of muscles. As this sport involves intense upper body usage it gives you a boost and an added bonus is that it gives you a mental happiness.
13. Barre Class
This class will you build on flexibility and strength. A word of caution- this is a high intensity workout activity and which may cause your muscles to strain.
If you have any lower leg injury, then swimming is one stop solution!
In fact every physiotherapist recommend swimming to strengthen the lower leg limbs, muscles. It helps in working on same muscle groups, upper body and your core.
If you are a novice swimmer, then we suggest you learn the proper form else you might injure your upper body!
15. Aqua Jogging
Did you sprain your foot while running? Are you looking for quick ways to heal? Then go jump in swimming pool!
You might think we are talking nuts, but aqua jogging is one of the cross training, that will build your muscles! Also its a perfect way to stay fit!
How to do aqua jogging?
Always start any exercise with a warm up, so perform a 5-10 minutes of warm up jogging in the water. And then do a mix of 1 minute sprint and 1 minute jog. Continue this for say 10 minutes and then relax in the pool. Do this for a couple of weeks and notice your pain disappear!
This is an activity which will help in getting your recovery and cardio. This looks more like the way you would be on an elliptical machine but just giving your joints a slight break.
Playing a sport is the best form of cardio and recovery and what better than Soccer?
This sport makes you run, which gives you an aerobic workout. There are shot breaks, you slow down, you speed up in this form of activity. This works on a lot of muscle groups in a go and most importantly your hip muscle. You can check hip strengthening exercises and say goodbye to hip pain.
Tips for Cross-Training
As we can conclude that cross training for runners is a good way to stay in shape and develop an overall endurance for our body here are some tips for cross training. With the help of cross training you can avoid boredom, frequent injuries and enjoy doing various kinds of work outs!
- Have your fitness goals set: This will help you select the right kind of workout. Once you have a set goal to work out you can choose the various activities and achieve the desired results. For instance, if you want to build on to your flexibility Yoga is a must for you.
- It’s an excellent substitute for runners: Many cross-training activities match running. So many work outs help in engaging the unused muscles of our body which need equal importance in functioning.
- Injuries are negligible: Injuries occur when you overuse your muscles. In cross training that is not the case, as you are doing various activities and not over using a single body part the risk to injuries is reduced.
- Makes working out a lot more fun: A lot of times we get bored of doing the same things repeatedly. But with cross training there are a lot of fun activities that can be done to achieve the results.
What is Plyometrics?
Plyometrics is designed for athletes who want quick results in a healthy manner. It involves a lot of powerful and fast movements which help in improving the overall body performance. In this form of exercise, the muscles are loaded and contacted rapidly. This can be witness when you jump high or run fast. Who gets benefitted with this training? Long distance runners, marathon racers!
How Cross-Training Will Help Boost Your Mileage
If you are doing an intense 60-minute cross training workout, then it is the same as a 5-mile training run. Your mileage will automatically boost as most of the cross-training activities don’t cause injuries because of their low impact nature. In the long run, cross training for runners also helps in boosting of weight loss.
If you are working out in this awesome way, you will never lose your interest from staying fit. Cross training for runners is essential because most of the time you are injury free, you exercise each muscle with the help of various activities and maintain your level of fitness.
So, are you ready to take up this amazing new fitness challenge?