Over the course of this past year, I’ve had my fair share of injuries creep up and had to resort to crosstraining aka NOT RUNNING.
I’ve always have included different types of exercises into my daily routine, but I never realized the importance until I became a more dedicated runner. Some people are gifted, and a blessed with joints, tissue, and muscles that allow them to run nearly everyday. As much as I try, I am not one of those people. Don’t get me wrong, I still run as much as my body will allow me, but I’ve learned to rely on other forms of endurance training and cardio.
During the last few years, I’ve also focuses on core and strength training, and while this post is on some of my favorite ways to crosstrain, I’m constantly working on my core and strength training in different ways.
If I had to pick a favorite endurance/cardio activity it would be: spinning.
A lot of runners have taken to the streets on their bikes and become dual-athletes after time.
I enjoy the occasional bike ride, but I discovered the intensity of a stationary bike a few years ago. I’ll never forgot my first spin class; it was 60 minutes of darkness, loud beats, and sweat — all the sweat. It was one of the first workouts that really challenged me, not just physically, but also mentally (very similar to distance running).
You have control over your cadence, leg speed, and resistance. You can take classes just about anywhere now, do your own routin, or take a class on-line. After attending a number of classes, I tend to get on the bike at least twice a week when I’m not running! Recently, I’ve been taking on-demand classes with Robin from Peloton — she pushes you like no other.
There are other studios like this poping up everywhere, SoulCyle, FlyWheel, and BodyCycle.
Get on and own your ride!
Open Stride Adaptive Motion Trainer or Elliptical:
Similar to the elliptical, the adaptive motion trainer is excellent for recovery and taking pressure off your legs and causing less impact overall.
With that said, that doesn’t mean it has to be easy
The most humbling of all crosstrain workouts — unless swimming if your jam. I envy people who can jump in the pool and gracefully glide over the water with their fancy strokes, barely kicking and breathing at the right times.
Me — I’m more of a doggy-paddle swimmer, which is actually a perfect fit for pool running.
Someday, I hope to concur the pool, but I’m not there yet. Needless to say, if you can swim DO! and Do it a lot, immersing your body in water is excellent for recovery. You can go HARD in the water, without any impact or fear of injury.
This is what led me to pool running a year ago, while training for the Big Sur Marathon. I was spending a lot of time doing hill repeats, which is awesome and hellish all at the same time. During a pre-check half-marathon, I tweaked my left leg (IT, Knee) and had to cut-back, a lot.
When I started amping up training again only about 6 weeks from race day, my coach told me to start pool running, he helped me with some workouts that weren’t that intimidating. And there I was, that weird woman everyone looked at awkwardly swimming back and forth in the pool. What they didn’t know was that I was KICKING ASS and taking names. I crushed my legs for those next six weeks, getting in the pool 2-3x a week. Come April, my legs were ready for anything — even the 2-mile climb in headwinds up Route 1.
Pool running is much more mental — there is no pretty landscape, terrain, music, etc. It’s just you, the water, and your thoughts. (I’ll share some workouts for the pool soon!)
Additional Crosstraining: Power Yoga, Yoga, Barre
If you need more proof as to why you should incorporate crosstraining into your training routine, check out this Runner’s World article.
What’s your favorite type of crosstraining?