0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

In This Article

Cross-training for runners: How to mix it right
175

Cross-training for runners: How to mix it right

Including cross-training activities in your work routine adds variety to the running routine, while improving overall fitness and performance
Cross-training can make a huge difference, making training fresh, fun and efficient.
Cross-training involves engaging in any exercise or sport different from the main sport or activity. (Photo by Anantha Subramanyam K / Happiest Health)

Life can get monotonous if one ends up following the same routine every day.  It holds true for workouts and fitness activities too. People who train regularly, be it sportspersons or fitness aficionados, do incorporate variations through the weekly schedule. But these variations are still centered around their chosen activity. This makes the training monotonous and could also lead to muscle imbalance and performance plateaus. This is where cross-training can make a huge difference, making training fresh, fun and efficient.

Cross-training for runners

Cross-training involves engaging in any exercise or sport different from the main sport or activity. This will help activate or work muscle groups different to the ones usually engaged. Cross-training is a great means to improve overall fitness and performance. Swimmers, for instance, who spend most of their time training in water, can cross train through exercises/activities on land (strength training, cycling, etc.).

Experts say that for runners, any physical activity that is not running is cross-training: lifting weights, cycling, swimming, yoga, dancing, etc. A short cross-training session (20-30 minutes of swimming or 60-90 minutes of cycling) is good for most of the runners.

Importance of cross-training for runners

Be it sprinting, distance running, trail running or cross country, the major training revolves around running.

“Part of training for running is also about your growth as a runner and your overall development,” says Tarun Walecha, a Delhi-based running coach. “While running, day in and out, the body and muscles get fatigued. It will tire the person both physically and mentally. So cross-training becomes a very integral part of the training programme, as it will help the person relax, recover and improve overall.”

Running creates a high impact on the feet which meets the ground during the strides. This increases the chances of repetitive strain injuries to the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints that are constantly used.

“The entire body plays a role in being a strong runner. But often certain muscle groups tend to get ignored or overloaded while running. Thus, cross-training helps to counter it,” adds Walecha.

Benefits of cross-training

Apart from utilizing different muscle groups, cross-training also benefits the runners in many other ways:

• Breaks the monotony: Following the same training routine every day can be tedious and dull. Cross-training takes away the monotony of doing the single activity over and over again and keeps one active on off days too. Since cross-training activities for runners include strength training, mobility or flexibility workouts and aerobic activities such as swimming, the muscles get stronger and the joints become flexible. It enhances cardiovascular health, which improves running performance too.

• Prevents muscle imbalance: Every fitness activity has a specific set of muscles that it utilizes more. Not utilizing the other muscle groups in the body can result in overuse of certain muscles and underuse of certain other muscles, resulting in muscle imbalance.

“When we cross train, we engage with muscle groups which are either not being used at all or perform a secondary role while running,” explains Walecha. “With the help of cross-training, we strengthen such muscles and activate them. In endurance sports when we push our bodies to extreme levels, such overall fitness is very critical.”

• Reduces risk of injuries: When a certain muscle group is used repetitively, it increases the chances of injuries.

Cross-training ⁠reduces chances of overuse injuries and can be used for active recovery in case of injuries and during rehab. Strength training for cross training is important to maintain muscle mass, increase sprinting power and keep the joints healthy as it helps decrease chances of running injuries.

Dos and don’ts

Ideally, cross-training should be done at least once or twice a week.

“One can skip a session in between the running schedule for cross-training as it provides the much-needed break without compromising the training load,” says Walecha.

It’s important to ensure that one is recovering well between the training and cross-training sessions. Yoga, breathing exercises, foam rolling, walking are easy ways to recover from running and also keeps you active on rest days.

However, ensure you don’t push too much, in terms of volume and intensity, and end up overtraining, caution the experts.

Takeaways

  • Cross-training involves engaging in activities/sport other than the main sport.
  • Common cross-training activities for runners include strength/weight training, swimming, cycling etc., which help retain muscle mass, improve muscle strength, and enhance cardiovascular health and contribute to better performance.
  • Cross-training also helps break the monotony of doing the same activity repeatedly, reduce muscle imbalance, injury risk, and prevent performance plateaus.
  • It’s important to not over train while incorporating cross-training sessions in the daily training routine.

Share Your Experience/Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Summit Registration

NOTE: The summit will be held at NIMHANS Convention Centre, Bengaluru.

Wellness Registration Form

-
-
-
Total Amount INR 3000
Trending

Articles

Article
Some couples consciously decide not to have children despite familial and social expectations, wanting to make the best of their relationship. Children should be had for their own sake, says psychotherapist Tasneem Nakhoda
Article
Insufficient consumption of heart-healthy foods can affect cardiovascular health. Experts discuss beneficial dietary choices
Article
Cycling and walking are both great cardiovascular activities that aid weight loss and keep various health conditions away. Pick one that suits your fitness goals and physical condition, say experts
Article
Summer drinks, though hydrating, can have excess sugar. Nutritionists suggest a few alternatives to keep the body temperature and sugar levels down
Article
Packed with protein, this recipe will help in weight management by keeping you full for a long time
Article
Researchers have found that a quick snooze can improve the retention of information by strengthening memories, leading to better recollection over an extended period
Trending

Articles

Article
Some couples consciously decide not to have children despite familial and social expectations, wanting to make the best of their relationship. Children should be had for their own sake, says psychotherapist Tasneem Nakhoda
Article
Insufficient consumption of heart-healthy foods can affect cardiovascular health. Experts discuss beneficial dietary choices
Article
Cycling and walking are both great cardiovascular activities that aid weight loss and keep various health conditions away. Pick one that suits your fitness goals and physical condition, say experts

0

0

0

Web Stories 

0

0

0

0

0

0

Opt-in To Our Daily Newsletter

* Please check your Spam folder for the Opt-in confirmation mail

Opt-in To Our
Daily Newsletter

We use cookies to customize your user experience, view our policy here

Your feedback has been submitted successfully.

The Happiest Health team will reach out to you at the earliest