Cross training refers to using one kind of sport to improve training in your primary sport; in this case, the primary sport is running, and there are tons of sports and physical activities that can be performed for cross training purposes.
Cross training helps construct the muscles that are not utilized while running. It basically balances your muscle groups. Running usually builds up the muscles on the back of the leg and neglects the muscles in the front. This can lead to painful injuries for the runner. Running also does precious little for the abdomen and upper body, which might result in an unbalanced form.
Cross training is used to tone all the muscles in your body and overcome all problems related to running.
How Cross Training Benefits the Runner
For a novice, cross training can strengthen the cardiovascular system, tone up the muscles, and help avert overuse injuries. It can help the beginner ease into a physical training regimen in a smart way, steadily building up his or her body in a balanced manner.
An experienced runner can get the advantage of strengthening the upper body. If you are someone who is running marathons or ultra marathons, you can also benefit a lot with cross training. If you are suffering from an injury, you must begin cross training as soon as your injury heals. Proper cross training will help your injury heal and maintain your fitness level.
In addition, if you are on a vacation or traveling and cannot maintain your regular running schedule, you must make use of cross training to ensure that you do not lose your form. Many hotels will have a gym. If not a gym, they will definitely have a swimming pool where you can swim or water jog or do water aerobics. If you are not too keen on that, you can also do yoga or aerobics in your hotel room itself. You can resort to cross training to maintain your fitness during extremes of weather when running becomes really torturous.
Activities Considered As Cross Training for Running
There are numerous activities that can be considered as cross training. Here are just a few.
Swimming, unlike running, focuses on working on the upper body. It can help you relax after a rigorous workout. It is also one of the best workouts around.
Rowing also pays attention to the upper body and also the abdomen. This is beneficial if you have been running for a long time. It teaches you to balance your upper body.
Strength training helps you during an injury. It also helps in balancing the muscle groups. So does yoga. In fact yoga helps in toning and conditioning the muscles used for running.
Cross Country Skiing
Cross country skiing strengthens your whole body. So does roller skating and ice skating.
Gymnastics or Dance
Both gymnastics and dance are great activities for building up entire-body strength, endurance, and flexibility. Give one of them a try. Even if you’re not comfortable going to a gym or joining a class as a beginner, you can easily find good gymnastics mats to use in your own home, which can then be used for gymnastics training, dance, or even yoga.
Other kinds of sports include water jogging, biking, race walking, baseball, basketball, tennis and similar others.
All kinds of runners can benefit from cross training. If you’ve never cross-trained before, you’ll find that doing so improves your performance in your primary sport. Give it a try.