The best ways to improve at running when you’re not running.
All exercises or types of movement that could make you a better runner, qualify for cross training.
You could be forgiven if biking and swimming are the ones popping in your head immediately, but there is so much more one could do. Ultimate Frisbee anyone? In the snow, why not?
Mostly anything that gets your heart rate up for an extended amount of time is worth considering.
10 Cross Training Ideas to get you started.
#1 Winter time? Indoor sports are your friend.
Playing basketball, badminton, squash (watch out for injuries as those are rather explosive sports) are great. Get some friends together and have fun. Heard of Padel (fusion of tennis and squash) yet? A real blast: give it a go if it surfaces in your area.
#2 Go do some stairs.
Do it outdoors if the weather allows, get on the stair stepper in the gym, or go wild and pick a cool public building whilst trying not to frighten too many others… Bonus points for getting kicked out by security. More bonus points for outrunning them.
#3 Winter time (2)?
Cross country skiing or Langlaufing is a sure winner.
If you’ve got the slopes for it: dragging a sledge or other contraption up a hill a few times and sliding down is certain to get the heart pumping.
Now, why not just run more? Well, running is a high impact activity. Every step puts a lot of pressure on the same muscles, ligaments and joints. Some peoples bodies can take the pounding, but most people break down after a certain amount of time, and suffer a running injury. Cross training helps you avoid injury, and keeps you in top shape.
#4 Core Strength is a must for almost any runner.
You can do a lot of different activities that can improve your abdominal and lower back strength and stability, whilst working up a sweat. Sit-up routines, using different, non conventional fun equipment, and even doing dance routines (see #9) can develop your midsection.
#5 Circuit Training involves some leg work…
… but mostly focuses on strengthening your upper body. Doesn’t work for everyone, as some runners just hate it.
It can be done without the use of weights, but is much easier to do in a weight room. Basically you do 12 different lifts. Only two of them focus on your legs. The rest work on your chest, shoulders, arms and back. This workout usually is sandwiched by riding on an exercise bike, or by running a mile before and after the circuit lifting routine.
#6 Biking is a classic.
You can do this on an exercise bike, or out on the open road. On a nice day, I would always suggest going outside, but be safe. If you are riding the bike, wear your helmet, and bright clothes. An exercise bike is convenient if you have access to a gym, or have one in your home. Riding the bike will get your heart rate up, whilst saving your legs from some pounding.
#7 Swimming or pool running are both great low impact exercise.
You can get an excellent workout, and it is much easier on your joints. Even if you are not a swimmer, you can run in the pool. Just watch out for the deep end.
#8 Yoga and Pilates offer great opportunites for runners.
You can increase flexibility and overall joint and tendon strength. This is especially valuable to runners who tend to feel tight when running. Related: Get Flexible with Yoga.
#9 Use your imagination.
Anything you loved to do when you were a kid, whatever sport you were into at some stage – or always wanted to try: go for it. Successful runners cross train: find what makes you tick.
#10 You gotta move it, move it.
Aerobics or dance classes offer the most gratifying opportunity to increase your fitness.
Get that midsection movin’!
Source. Image source.