It used to be that training programs for committed runners were comprised of running. Just running. A lot of running.
Today, sports science and exercise physiology have taught us more about overuse, fatigue, injuries, and performance. And we know that while the body benefits from training specificity, excessive running can lead to overtraining and performance declines.
The best conditioning regimens for runners now include cross training, which adds other modalities to a running plan to address weak links, develop better strength and flexibility and help reduce susceptibility to overuse injuries that are common in runners. Cross training can includes strength and flexibility exercises, cycling, swimming, stairclimbing, elliptical, yoga, Pilates and more.
Although runners may know that they are supposed to do cross training, many typically avoid it, fearing that it may not improve their performance and being compelled instead to log more miles. But even the most elite competitive runners now are cross training.
And research has shown that cross training – strength work particularly – delivers multiple benefits for runners.
Cross Training benefits for Runners
- Greater running economy – moving faster over the same distance with less effort
- Better stamina – can lead to increased speed
- Stronger bones and joints – better able to tolerate repetitive impact
- Leaner body composition – lower body fat means less stress on the body
- Enhanced immune function – can help prevent sickness
And flexibility exercises help relieve muscle tension, improve blood flow and increase range of motion.
Runners who want to cross train should work it into their running routine, with ideally one-two strength/flexibility sessions each week for best results. Cardio cross training, where impact is minimized, also can replace a run to improve endurance while eliminating the pounding on the body.
One solution that is ideal is the new Zero Runner, which replicates natural running motion without any impact. Now runners can log miles but not take a beating like they do outdoors. Plus, the Zero Runner includes the valuable CROSS CiRCUIT® program that incorporates strength and flexibility exercises into running intervals for ultra-productive workouts. Cross training now is easy and convenient for runners, as CROSS CiRCUIT provides the exercises and direction. No more excuses!