The Importance of Cross Training for Runners – 6 Reasons to Do It


If you’re looking to improve your progress in running, mixing up your routine is a must. This is true for both beginner and experienced runners. That’s where cross training comes in.


What exactly is cross training, and what activities are the best for runners? We’ve got you covered. 

This article explains the importance of cross training for runners and the best cross training activities to reap the benefits and improve your performance. 


What Is Cross Training?

First, let’s start by explaining what a cross training workout is.


In general, cross training is athletic training in sports and activities other than your primary sport. For runners, this means partaking in physical activity that is not running. 


The purpose of cross training for runners is to include a variety of exercises in your routine to avoid straining your muscles from repetitive activity – which, in this case, is running.


There are an endless number of cross training activities that can benefit you as a runner. Some of the most popular cross training activities for runners include:


      • Cycling: Cycling is a popular cross training activity for runners because it’s easier on the joints. This is a great activity if you’re taking a break from running due to injury and can help you maintain your aerobic fitness.

      • Swimming: Swimming is another activity that’s easier on the joints. What’s more, swimming is excellent for building your endurance. If you miss running, you can always try aqua jogging or pool running, too.

    In addition to these cross training workouts, you want to consider stretching and mobility to prevent muscle imbalance and avoid a running injury. Adding activities such as yoga to your workout routine give your body a break while ensuring it remains strong and flexible for your runs.


    Now, let’s look at the benefits of cross training for runners. 


    Top 6 Benefits of Cross Training for Runners

    If you need more convincing on why cross training is essential to your overall performance, here are the top six reasons you should consider adding cross training to your workout schedule.


    Avoid Burnout

    Avoiding burnout is one of the main benefits of cross training for runners. 


    Running is an exhausting activity physically, but it’s also exhausting mentally. You may eventually feel burnt out if you continuously run every day for weeks. As a result, you’ll lose motivation and possibly fall out of a routine, losing your progress until that point. 


    To avoid burnout and keep yourself interested, you should switch out your workout routine from time to time. Replace one or two runs per week with other forms of cardio, such as cycling or swimming. This reduces the chances of you getting bored and consequently experiencing burnout. 



    Minimize the Risk of Injury

    The risk of injury from running is higher than many think. This is due to the impact that running has on your joints; when you run every day, the risk of injury increases. 


    Cross training exercises such as cycling give your joints a much-needed break while still keeping you active. This way, you don’t overuse the same muscles and give them time for a much-needed break. 


    What’s more is that doing other activities, such as strength training, can improve the strength of your muscle groups, which will reduce your risk of injury while you’re running. 


    Increase Strength

    While increasing strength may not be your main goal when running, the strength of your muscles plays an important role in how well you’re able to run. The stronger your muscles, the easier and more effective your runs will be. 


    There are several benefits to doing cross training activities that improve your strength. Firstly, strong muscles increase your endurance. They’ll also make you feel better throughout your run and give you more energy. Beyond that, strong muscles also improve your stride, which improves your mileage, and makes it easier to do long runs. 

    Allows You to Train Year-Round

    Running outside is dependent on the weather. When it’s raining, snowing, or just plain cold, these are conditions in which you won’t want to run outdoors.


    While you can take your running routine indoors on a treadmill, if you don’t own one or prefer the outdoors, it may be better to take up another activity during this time.


    By cross training during rainy days or the winter instead of forgoing physical activity at all, you’ll still keep your muscles working. This way, you don’t lose any of your progress and can get right back into your running routine as soon as the season comes up.



    Fit Pregnancy

    In the past, running used to be seen as a dangerous hobby for pregnant women. While it is more widely accepted that there are health benefits to women exercising throughout pregnancy, it becomes more challenging in the last trimester, so you will need a training plan.


    Just because you can’t run doesn’t mean you have to stop moving entirely and lose more progress than you have to. Cross training allows pregnant women to be active throughout their pregnancy and soon after so that when they return to their usual run, they’ll find that their running performance may be better than expected.


    Discover a New Hobby

    While cross training for runners has tons of benefits, consider other activities simply for fun.


    Running may be your favorite activity, but there are many other ones to try. Through cross training, you’re likely to discover a passion for other activities you can do in conjunction with running. This balance will enhance your running and overall quality of life.


    Conclusion: Important of Cross Training for Runners

    Cross training for runners is important to improve the quality of your runs and prevent injury. From cycling to strength training, moving your body in different ways will ensure that you continue to be fit enough to run, help with injury prevention, and make you a better runner.


    You can do several activities to cross train, so be sure to choose activities you enjoy almost as much as running!

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