6 Reasons Why Cross-Training is Important For Runners
Confession time: how many of you girls have been doing workouts other than running this month? While it may be tempting to solely get out there + log your miles [gotta get those 31 outdoor miles in!], cross training is an important supplement to running — it can truly make or break an injury. For those of you who might not know what cross-training is, it’s essentially when an athlete of any kind is training in more than one sport to improve fitness + performance in the athlete’s main sport.
Us #runCHAARG girls should be cross-training on *off-days* when rest isn’t absolutely necessary or on days when we might not feel up to a big run. A very popular form of cross-training for runners is cycling because the intensity//aerobic level is almost identical. However, mixing in exercises like swimming + stepping + yoga + LIFTING [: )] are also great! I love cross-training with the Nike Training Club App – it creates a personalized workout for you based on your level as an athlete + your goal for the workout!
With #runCHAARG in full swing, we want to make sure you are utilizing cross-training! While there are many benefits to cross-training, these four are our favorites…
#1] INJURY PREVENTION
If you’ve heard anything about cross-training for runners + its benefits, this is probably what you’ve heard: cross-training prevents injury. Runners are more prone than most athletes to get injuries due to overuse — I’m practically the poster-board child for it after fracturing my spine about five years ago due to [you guessed it] overuse. We all know how much it hurts [physically + emotionally] having to hold out on your workouts, which is why cross-training is an awesome solution!
According to Runner’s World, most overuse injuries can be prevented or at least prevented from returning. In fact, more than half of running injuries are re-injuries. Cross-training helps with adequate recovery [whether you’re already injured or close to injury], biomechanical irregularities that often cause injuries during runs [like over-pronation in your feet or two different leg lengths], + muscular imbalances also caused by running [tight hams + quads = NO GOOD].
#2] BIGGER + BETTER RUNS
Whether you are a beginner or an elite runner, we all have one common goal [even if it’s not as big of a goal as it is to the next girl]: we’re constantly looking to improve ourselves as runners – running a little longer, a little faster each time we hit the pavement. Believe it or not, cross-training can be a big missing piece to the puzzle.
Although it isn’t definite, it’s more than reliable that cross-training can improve a runner’s performance. It can enhance a runner’s efficiency, + increase a runner’s power [lifting = stronger!], + increase the amount of time runners can spend training without getting fatigued or injured.
#3] ACTIVE RECOVERY//REHABILITATION
Just as important as it is to rest + hydrate + fuel up on all sorts of #CHAARGeats, it’s also important to keep your body movin’ some sort of way! This is where cross-training comes in.
Aside from the times when strictly resting is necessary, active recovery can make all the difference in a runner finding her fit! During training programs like #runCHAARG or the #CHAARGFITPLAN, light workouts can speed up the recovery process because staying active increases blood flow which increases healing. This is another reason why it is so important to stay active while you are injured! If injured, try your best to cross-train at an intensity level, density, + structure that matches that of when you run.
#4] NEW INSPIRATION + MOTIVATION
If you’re anything like me, running the same trails + routes gets old after a while — no matter how much you have a passion for running. If you’re feeling like you’re getting in a slump, don’t get discouraged. It’s completely natural. That’s why anything you can do to motivate yourself to GET UP + GET MOVING is worth while.
Cross-training helps runners maintain their enthusiasm for their sport, making it possible for them to train harder + more consistently — ultimately performing better + stronger. Who knows, you might end up falling in love with a new form of exercise. + isn’t that what CHAARG is all about? Find your fit + continue to explore what works, inspires + motivates you.
+Amber [@amb.inchaarg_], Penn State CHAARG