running tips: how to cross train

running tips - how to cross train
Ask any runner and you’ll find they’ve experienced some form of love or hate relationship with crosstraining and, like most relationships, it’s complicated. Substituting a few crosstraining sessions in place of running can actually make you stronger but for some, choosing a different cardio-boosting activity can feel as if you’re cheating on your beloved running.

Runners who are devoted to crosstraining include one or two low-impact options in their training program every week. They use crosstraining as part of a well-balanced running program to maintain muscle groups, add variety and prevent injury.

Uncommitted crosstraining relationships develop due to overuse injuries. In this situation a runner ignores minor aches, forgoes their better judgment and follows their running desires until an injury forces them to stop. Once the damage has been done, these runners cross train to maintain their fitness until they can return back to full-time running and repeat the cycle.

A long-term crosstraining relationship requires compromises and commitment to improve your running. Play the field with these low-impact running alternatives until you find one that’s right for you.

recumbent bike

how to cross train for running
This is a more comfortable option compared to the upright bike and still works your hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes.

upright bike

biking and spin classes for running

Biking and spin classes are great ways to improve your cardio and strength.


elliptical for running cross training

This machine is my personal favourite because you get a total cardiovascular workout, it's low-impact and you almost feel like you're running.

Other great options are pool running and rowing. What’s your favourite way to cross train?

Cross training gear:

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You forgot swimming! ;)

Comment by Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete — August 17, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

Awesome indoor cycling classes! Lots of great instructors out there ready to help our friends running! I became hooking on spinning after a cycling injury. There’s the traditional Spinning format, or the awesome and new bikes that move side-to-side (hello core muscles!) called RealRyder. Check it out!

Comment by erin m. — August 17, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

I don’t really do any cardio crosstraining–on days I don’t run I do some fairly hard (for me) yoga or rock climb.

Comment by Alana — August 17, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

Don’t forget CrossFit :)

Comment by Jennifer — August 17, 2010 @ 7:21 pm

Swimming and Spin Class!

Comment by caroline — August 17, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

I started training for my first triathlon (still a tri-virgin!) when I realised running alone was hurting my body – feeling stronger and fitter than I ever have. Fitting yoga in too is helping.

Swim – Bike – Run (collapse!)

Comment by Janice — August 17, 2010 @ 10:49 pm

I know how the love-hate relationship feels like, sad to say :( During my first year as a runner, I was really crazy about increasing mileage during every runs, and practically run 6-7 times a week. I got some symptoms of arthritis long after that, and had another love-hate relationship with running itself for some time.

Now I incorporate 2-3 times of XT per week and running never felt easier!

Comment by Stacia — August 19, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

In training for my first and now my second half marathon, my main way of cross training was spinning class and riding my bike outside. I love riding my bike and spinning isn’t so bad either, so I don’t see them as a chore. On off days I’ll also take my dog for a long walk. I also do an abs class a couple times a month, as well as abs work on my own to work on my core muscles to help me improve my running form.

Comment by Amanda — August 20, 2010 @ 6:43 am

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