We know many of you already cross train. We have athletes that do everything! Our athletes teach bootcamp, attend crossfit multiple times per week, get bendy in hot yoga, cycle, hike, swim, kayak, SUP, and dogsled (yes - that is definitely hard work).
So, if you are not currently doing some type of cross training, you might be wondering how you can start, what you can do, and how you can reap the benefits.
It is okay to try a few different things. You won't know if you like it until you give it a try. Find something you enjoy, and intertwine your cross training activities with your running schedule.
Here are a few examples of how different cross training activities can help you as a runner.
Bicycle Intervals Increase Speed
- When Tom Miller was a Ph.D candidate at the University of Utah, he had runners warm up on a stationary bike (at low tension). He then had them increase the tension until the wheel could hardly turn. Then, the athletes stood up on the pedals for two segments of high power pedaling for 30, 45, 60, 45, and 30 seconds. Between each segment, the tension was lowered for recovery. All runners who used this training method a few times per week for six weeks were able to improve their 10K times. A few runners even were able to PR.
Weight Training Improves Running In Many Ways
- There is no doubt strength training can help make you faster. Weight training helps increase the body's ability to use oxygen efficiently. Thanks to this, weight training can also help you with that final kick at the end of a race. Strength training will increase your proportion of type II fibers which are your "fast-twitch" fibers.
Weight training can also help decrease body fat, help provide you with a better body composition, help prevent injury, and help decrease stress.
Yoga Improves Flexibility, Assists with Injury Prevention, Improves Strength, and Helps You Mentally
- Can't touch your toes? That's okay - you are still welcome in yoga. Yogis come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of flexibility. Studies have shown that yoga knocks out stress, aids weight loss, eases pain, helps people stick with exercise, and improves running times. Yoga focuses on building strength and flexibility, and you will find that you will build strength in the core, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors. You will notice you begin to run more efficiently and injury free as you begin to truly listen to and notice your body.
Holding challenging poses such as bakasana also helps build tenacity that will pay off for you later. It can help you learn to control your emotions and push through discomfort.
Of course, as with any new activity, you should be cautious with yoga. Don't get too ambitious too soon - follow a certified instructor as you are learning. Remember, it's okay if you cannot touch your toes. Everyone starts somewhere.
We will be writing a post on how to choose the best type of yoga for you soon if you are interested in pursuing your practice.
Swimming builds endurance and is a great way to stay in shape while injured.
- Swimming is an ideal form of active recovery for runners. It allows you increase endurance and oxygen capacity while giving you a break from pounding pavement.
You use your whole body while swimming, and you are creating different movement patterns which allows you to work muscles you are not working while running.
We hope these suggestions help you with getting started. Of course, there are plenty of cross training options out there. We wanted to provide you with a few and the benefits they provide. See you Wednesday morning for hills!
Who Picks the Topics?
Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!