Cross-training is an important part of fitness for runners. Stretching and balance exercises are easy ways to complement your training!
Runners are notorious for ignoring almost every other type of fitness other than running. When we want to move our bodies, we lace up our running shoes and go. I myself spent years ignoring all the other stuff — walking, stretching, yoga, weight training. All of it. And more often than not, I would find myself injured. I’ve since learned the value of cross-training to complement my running. Fitness for runners is multifaceted and should be approached as such.
But if you’re anything like me, you probably look for every excuse to not cross-train. But it’s so beneficial. Not only does it allow the rest of your body to stretch and strengthen, it also challenges your running muscles to move and strengthen in other ways which, in turn, is exceptional for running.
Fitness for Runners: 3 Simple Ways to Cross-Train
Here are three simple ways to cross-train if you’re a runner. No equipment necessary — unless you want to use it!
1. Get back to basics
Fitness for runners begins by going back to basics. What does that mean exactly? It means incorporating dynamic warm-ups into your training. And not crazy difficult dynamic warm-ups. I’m talking middle school track warm-ups. Movements like: windmills, jumping jacks, leg swings, high knees, butt kickers, and skips. All these movements help prime the body for rigorous cardio but several of them also mimic running mechanics. Try completing some of these before your next run!
2. Single leg everything
If you work out with weights, try working out with one leg at a time. Single-leg exercises will help with balance and overall strength. Plus it’s incredibly rewarding to see your own progress unfold. At first, doing single leg bicep curls may feel very challenging. But pretty soon you’ll be adding weight and maintaining balance with ease.
Interested in more intense workouts to cross-train? Try one of these!
3. Don’t neglect post-run stretching
I’m the biggest offender when it comes to neglecting post-run stretching. I do try to set a good example for my athletes, but when left to my own devices, I completely neglect the stretching. But there are so many benefits to a post-run stretch. Stretching after a run signals to your body that it’s time to cool down and stop working so hard. It allows your muscles to stretch more efficiently after your body’s already warm from the run. Plus, it just feels good. So don’t neglect that post-run stretch. Your body will thank you!
If you want to crank up the heat, join me for a bootcamp or strength training workout!
Cross-training is an important aspect of fitness for runners. It doesn’t have to be a big production of lifting weights or doing inversions, so if that’s not your style, no sweat. But incorporating things like stretching, balance exercises, and dynamic bodyweight movements are an easy way to complement your running form and efficiency.
I challenge you to add some of these simple movements to your next few workouts!
What’s one activity you gravitate toward as cross-training?
Tell the truth: do you stretch after a run?