Benefits of Cross Training
So, I consider myself a runner wholeheartedly.
But I love soccer, cycling, going to the gym, volleyball, rollerblading…and I feel no guilt about it. I always feel like there’s a stigma that runners can only run, bikers can only cycle, soccer players can only play soccer. But why not do what I love?
And there’s a ridiculous amount of benefits.
This is an article that shows how you can “borrow” from other sports to boost your running performance.
The biggest benefit that probably comes to mind first is injury prevention. As a runner I’m constantly stressing about how my ankles land and if my knees are holding up properly and how tight my calves get. To have a little peace of mind when it comes to injury is a blessing.
According to Matt Fitzgerald from the August 2004 issue of Runner’s World, “Overuse injuries are the curse of the running life, a never-ending epidemic among pavement (and trail) pounders everywhere. Nevertheless, injuries aren’t inevitable. Most overuse injuries can be prevented or at least prevented from returning. (More than half of running injuries are actually reinjuries.) Most of them can be blamed on four factors.1. Inadequate recovery (when your body doesn’t fully recover from one run to the next)2. Biomechanical irregularities (such as overpronation and leg-length discrepancy)3. Muscular imbalances caused by running itself (tight hamstrings and weak quadriceps, for example)4. Improper or worn-out footwearCross-training can’t help you with your footwear choices, but it can address the other three factors.If you’re a beginning runner who hasn’t yet developed strength and flexibility imbalances, you can get big benefits from endurance cross-training. Your ankles, knees, and lower back aren’t used to the repetitive impact of running, so you can use walking, elliptical machines, and other low-impact conditioning tools to improve endurance without beating up your most vulnerable joints, muscles, and connective tissues. You can gradually mix in some running once you’ve established a base of fitness (and lost some weight, if that’s an issue).”
So, “Endurance cross-training can therefore help you ease into the sport, if you’re a new runner, by reducing the amount of impact your body absorbs. And if you’re a veteran runner, it helps you stay in the sport. It isn’t uncommon for longtime runners to lose so much knee cartilage through repetitive impact that they develop osteoarthritis and are forced to hang up their shoes. By mixing in some weight lifting and swimming today, you just might spare yourself the frustration of only being able to swim and lift weights in the future.”
I personally am new to cycling, but have fallen in love with it and use my fuji road bike all the time. As of recently, I’ve decided to use it to get to work. The more you’re using muscles that don’t get frequented, the better good you’re doing for your body.
I’ve also really wanted to try yoga, pilates, and kick boxing. Any insider’s tips regarding those?