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Cross Training Activities For Runners

Books to Improve your Running

Cross training is a very worthwhile endeavor for most runners. Many runners make the mistake of thinking participation in other types of exercise will only detract from the running but this is simply not true. Runners may find the gain a variety of benefits from cross training as opposed to using running as the only form of exercise. This article will examine a few cross training options for runners and will also provide information on how this cross training can be beneficial to the runner.

There are a couple of different theories on cross training for runners. One theory is to select an activity which is closely related to running and to use this activity to augment your running program. Another theory is to select activities which are not closely related to running and to use these activities to complement your running program. The use of both types of cross training is considered to be useful; however, it is up to the runner to determine which type works best for him. However, in general runners who are training for a serious event and are very dedicated to performing well in this event are likely to select cross training activities which are very similar to running while runners who run simply for exercise are more likely to opt for cross training activities which are not closely related to running. Additionally, runners who participate in multifaceted events such as triathlons are likely to cross train using unrelated activities in an effort to properly prepare them for the swim and bike legs of the triathlon. In this article we will examine both types of cross training and will provide information on the benefits of each type of cross training.

First we will consider cross training which is very similar in nature to running. This includes activities which engage the same muscles in a manner which is very similar to running. However, these cross training activities are typically lower in impact than traditional running. It is this similarity in muscle engagement combined with the lower impact which drives many runners to these types of activities. Examples of these types of activities may include using elliptical fitness trainers, water jogging and even using ski machines. As previously mentioned, runners who favor these types of activities are usually serious runners who are training for a specific event and do not want to sacrifice running time with cross training activities which are not necessarily designed to help the runner improve. However, they likely realize just how taxing running can be and realize the need to incorporate lower impact activities into their regular training schedule to lessen the strain on the runnerís body.

Next we will consider runners who exercise mostly for the physical benefits of runners. These runners may not be training for any particular race or event. They may simply enjoy running enough to use this activity as their primary source of exercise. However, they too realize limiting themselves to only running puts a tremendous amount of strain on the body. Additionally, they realize this strain can be reduced by incorporating other types of lower impact activity or even activities which primarily engage different muscle into the training program can be very beneficial. These runners may opt for a wide variety of activities such as swimming, biking, participating in team sports such as basketball and soccer, skiing, yoga or even dance as a way to stay active while not overstressing the muscles and joints used primarily in running.

Finally, we will consider runners who choose to participate in events and competitions which include different activities such as triathlons. A triathlon consists of a swim leg, a bike leg and concludes with a run leg. Athletes who participate in these types of events may start out focusing on one of the events exclusively but may opt to branch out and start training for the other types of events to participate in this fun sport. Runners who have an interest in participating in triathlons will likely do some of their cross training by swimming and biking. In this case, swimming and biking not only gives the runner a break from running but also helps to prepare him for the other events.

Runners who opt to cross train, either to improve their running or simply to give themselves a break from running should be aware of a number of different factors which may indicate whether or not the cross training is working well for them. Specifically, these runners should monitor their morning heart rate regularly while they are cross training. This is because an elevated heart rate is a good indication that the runner is overexerting himself during his cross training efforts. In this case, it may be necessary for the runner to scale back the cross training or participate in activities which are less taxing on the body until the morning heart rates return to normal.


The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.

Running Stretches and Running Tips

Click Here to view the DVD.

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