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9 Cross-Training Activities for Runners

Boost Performance, Reduce Injury Risk and Beat Boredom


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  • It's nice to see bike riding among the cross training list. For what ever reasons some people down play the importance and benefits of bike riding.
    Swimming is also a great cross training exercise especialy the wave pools
  • Very surprised yoga is not on this list. That is my main cross training when training for a race. And upper body weight lifting.
  • What a great article I do all these except cross country ski and water jog .....glad to know doing the right things
  • Wow! This is great information! Just what I've been looking for and more.
    Thanks so much for putting your time into something that will be helping many I'm sure.
    Have a great day!
    G Sparker
  • I love running (which is quite surprising - 7 months ago I would have laughed hysterically if you told me I would be up to 9+ miles while still weighing more than 200 pounds)!

    I've tried riding my bike for cross training... Unfortunately, however, I overdid it (6 mile ride on lots of steep hills my second week out) and really messed up my knees. Thankfully I could still run without any pain in my knees but bending and squatting were quite painful for a month. So if you go the route of cycling - make sure you have proper form on the bike and take it easy - building up your time and distance on the bike.

    I've also tried pool running when I'm at my parents house- it is truly very boring - but the hand floats you use help add a welcome arm workout while pool running.

    My go to activity between my running days is ZUMBA! I know it's not traditional at all - but it is TONS of fun! :)
  • I agree with WAMCVEY ~ Yoga and Pilates are definitely missing from this list
  • Walking is #1 for me,
    it does the best to my legs, better than cycling or swimming,
    and it doesn't require any equipment or preparation.
    At first I felt walking was a waste of time as it burns relatively fewer calories,
    but now I love walking on my cross training days. I burn the calories during running, no need to worry about them on rest days.
  • I agree that some forms of strength training should be included in this list, although I noticed that it really focuses on other forms of cardio that can help running.

    Actually, the only thing I disagree with in this article is the first sentence: the only way to get better at running is to run. In my personal experience, the only way to get an injury is to run, and then run some more. I got better at running by running less; in effect, I got better at running by doing this list!

    I was trying to get my run times down, and I overtrained. I ended up with a stress fracture, which meant I couldn't run at all. For two full months I did the stationary bike and the rowing machine, the only two pieces of cardio equipment I was authorized to use (I'm in the Navy). I kept up strength training. When I DID start running again in March, I did a walk-to-run program. I started doing plyometrics for my legs instead of weights.

    I had a physical assessment at the beginning of May. I only needed to run 1.5 miles, but three weeks before the test, I was still only running for 5-8 minutes. I only got one trial run before my test.

    On the day of the test, I ran 1.5 miles in 10:19, my fastest time to date. I shaved 21 seconds off my last test time, which was in October. So yeah, I can't stress how important this article's points are, for preventing boredom AND injury, and the only thing I don't agree with is that first sentence!
  • I was surprised to not see yoga and/or pilates on the list.
  • Good article but stretching and strength training needs to be included. Runners need to develop their upper bodies and they need to address the imbalances created by running. Most of the cross-training suggested here does not address the upper body or imbalances.
  • This is helpful, thank you!
  • Great article on the importance of cross-training & good ideas too! I'd have to pass on the higher impact options, but water workouts, I love. If anyone is on a budget or space challenged, do look for NordicTracks. I found a used one in good shape on Craigslist for $25. Much easier on the joints & pocketbook than most exercise equipment!

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