Tuesday, 10 November 2015

5 Benefits of Cross Training

Last night I had the opportunity to chat with the 5k running clinic at a local Running Room.  This wasn't the learn to run clinic, but rather 2 levels of a 5k.  They don't do speed training or hills, and only do a run/walk option, so talking about cross training is a necessity.  I said to the organizer "Get them while they are still 'green' and teach them right!

So here are my top 5 benefits of cross training:

#1 - Injury Prevention - as many of you know, I have struggled with ITBS (IT Band Syndrome) for many years and have struggled to find anything that will help me.  This is the first year that I have run all race season without any significant IT issues.  I attribute it to the cross training that I started back in October of 2014.  Squats, lunges, burpees, pushups, ab work, and ladder work have all helped me build stronger muscles that have aided me this season.  In fact, at the peak of my training, I had put 12lbs of muscle on my body!!

Love me some Fitness Blender for go-to workouts!
#2 - Rehab - as runners, we all hate those dreaded words "you need to take a break....no running until...".  You immediately see devils over your PT's head...what do they mean you can't run?  Your family and friends immediately know that you aren't running as you have instantly turned into Oscar the Grouch!  To save your friendships....find something else to maintain your fitness level without running!  Water running, swimming, biking, bootcamps...anything to allow you the same 'feeling' as running has given you!  The good news is that if you pick up another activity, then jumping back into running will be easier when you are ready!

#3 - Greater Runner Fitness - whether you are running for fun or for a goal....we all secretly want to get faster or perhaps go further...it's our internal competition.  Cross-training allows us to build the base that helps us when the running gets tougher.  Poor form creeps up quickly when we are running tired and we start to waste energy on just maintaining good form instead of on the act of running.  Building a strong core for example will help us stay upright when we start to get tired....strong arms will help pump us through those hills...you get the idea!!

#4 - To Mix it Up - if you haven't ever experienced runner burn out....it will probably happen.  A time will come that you will hit a slump and mixing it up and trying something new can help you overcome the slump and keep your physical activity level up until you are ready to go back to running.

#5 - Rejuvenation - We all take a vacation from work...and if you don't....you should!!!  We all need to take time to 'reset'.  To let our minds and our muscles rebuild and get ready for our next goal setting adventure.   This can be difficult for seriously dedicated runners so even cutting back the intensity for two weeks will help rejuvenate those tired muscles.  In those two weeks...take the opportunity to try something new...to use a different set of muscles....you never know....you might just fall in love with it!!

Who says a true vacation won't work too?
I am sure there are more reasons that cross training is important...but these are my main ones.  Do you cross train?  If you do, what do you do??

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