Hello divas! I hope that you have survived your week so far. Mine has been a bit busy but pretty good. I have had a great week of training and not too horrible on the nutrition front so that’s a plus.
Today I want to touch on something that is near and dear to my heart as a runner – cross training. As you know I am a runner and love doing my races (especially the ones with bling 🙂). One thing I have learned since I first began running is the importance of cross training.
There have been times when my weight loss or fitness has plateaued. I have also had injuries off and on as every runner and athlete does from time to time. But one thing that can help with both of these is cross training. So today I am sharing some of the reason why cross training is essential for every runner and other athlete’s training plans.
1. It improves Your Fitness
Cross training can improve your overall fitness level. Strength training for instance will tone and strengthen those muscles that you use when you run. Doing workouts such as high intensity interval training (see the benefits of HIIT) can help increase your cardiovascular fitness. Just doing a cross training activity can help keep you in shape for your main source of fitness.
2. It Balances Your Muscle Groups
Doing a cross training workout can help balance out your muscle groups. For instance, running is a very repetitive exercise. You tend to use the same muscles over and over when you run. Cross training can help work out other muscles in your body to balance other muscle groups.
3. It Helps Prevent Injuries
By doing nothing but running, you risk the dreaded overuse injury. Like mentioned above, running is repetitive. Not only does this lead to muscle imbalance in the body, but when you use the same muscles over and over, you risk overusing them. This can cause injuries that will force you to stop running for a while (such as my plantar fasciitis). By adding strength training or some other form of exercise you can strengthen the muscle and work out different ones than when you are running. This can help prevent the overuse injuries and keep you running.
4. It Helps You Get Back on Your Feet After an Injury
When you do get injured, doing some cross training can help you get back to your normal routine quicker. When I had my plantar fasciitis, yoga was a life saver. It helped stretch out the muscles and strengthen my calves and feet so that when I did begin running again, I was stronger than before. Exercises like swimming, biking or even my favorite at home workouts such as my build your own HIIT routine or the 21 Day Fix (learn more about 21 Day Fix) program are good for keeping your cardiovascular health and fitness level while you aren’t running.
5. It Prevents Boredom
Lastly, cross training keeps you from getting bored. I love running. I’ll admit that. But I also know that I get bored easily (see how to stay motivated to workout). I don’t want to burnout on running so I do other forms of exercise to keep me in shape and limit my running to about 4 days a week. Variety is the spice of life after all.