Cross Training: Why and How to do it

July 7, 2015|Posted in: Running

After running my first marathon in 2011, I got injured. Exactly 5 days after. I went out for a run and after about 1 mile started to experience extreme pain on the side of my knees. It got to the point where I could hardly walk and was dragging my leg behind me.

It was my IT bands – I was officially injured.

What led to this injury? Well, a lot of running of course but mostly, I wasn’t doing any form of cross training. I knew it was part of my training plan but it was the part I enjoyed the least so I just gave myself a break too many times and skipped it. Oops.

I paid the price.

Cross training is extremely important during training. Yes, running is obviously very important because that is what the event is when you are running a marathon. But in order to be strong, healthy, and injury-free, you must find ways to do cross training. You can’t continuously beat up the same parts of your body, leave the other parts weak, and expect that to be okay. Our bodies don’t work that way.

Since that injury and major lesson, I have always made sure to include cross training. There is still a possibility that I could get injured, which their always is, but at least I lesson my chance.

I used to bike and do the rowing machine as my form of cross training. But since I no longer have a gym membership (so sad!), I have been making up my own workouts and also doing workout DVD’s. I am particularly into the 21 Day Fix workouts right now. They are quick (30 minutes) and effective. (Just to be clear, I am not a Beachbody coach.)

I usually do the arm and leg workouts. They also make me stronger and I feel like they make me a better runner as well. There is always some core work involved as well which is great for runners.

So what is cross training? Basically, it’s anything except for running! Even walking can be considered a part of cross training. It’s just a way to get physical activity without the same exact pounding that running can do. Swimming is a great example of a cross training workout actually. If only I enjoyed swimming… ha!

Other examples of cross training are water running (yes, exactly as it sounds), the elliptical, barre class, kayaking, yoga, Zumba, and playing sports. Whatever you enjoy outside of running.

I also plan to get to some barre classes as well to include in my cross training since I really like those. Just like any work out, the best cross training workout is the one that you enjoy the most. Because it’s the one you will actually do.

Remember to include this in any training plan you have for a race. You will be happy you did and hopefully be celebrating post-race injury free!

I want to encourage you to follow along in my health journey through what I learn and experience. I hope there is something you can take away from Fit Busy Female that inspires you to start taking control of your health and feeling better every day.

Leave a Reply