Week 2 of Fort4Fitness training is in the books! As runners and walkers across the community are checking off rest day, cross-training, strength-training and run boxes, we wanted to know how Shanna, who’s working her way up to a 10k this year, was doing.
“I’m getting my runs in, and those feel really good. But I’m really having a hard time getting the cross-training in. I have to confess; I actually haven’t done any. It’s easy for me to understand the importance of getting my runs in. I know how those are going to help me on race day. But the other workouts just seem like extra work. I wish I understood how they were really going to help with my training. It might help me feel more motivated.”
Ask and you shall receive! This element of preparation is tough for a lot of athletes. Thankfully, Mackenzie Clark, MS, LAT, ATC, Parkview Sports Medicine, is here to shed some light on why it’s worth the effort.
OK, sell us on cross-training, Mackenzie ...
Cross-training helps prevent injury and decreases risk of burnout when training for a long-distance race. Let’s face it; running can be boring, especially when you’re training plan calls for 3-5 days of running a long distance every week. If you aren’t changing up your running routes, then getting in those miles might be a little lackluster. Cross-training is a great way to spice up your long-distance training regimen. Choosing another activity keeps you engaged while working other muscle groups and keeping your cardiovascular endurance in check.
Injury prevention is another reason why cross-training is important. Running is a high-impact activity. Your lower body joints are constantly pounding the pavement while you run. A great way to give those joints a break is to cross-train. Choosing an activity like biking, swimming, or using the elliptical machine will work those lower body muscles used for running, but will give your joints a break.
How often should I cross-train?
It depends. Listen to your body. Cross-training two days a week (on off-running day) can be enough to help decrease your risk for injury and burnout. If you are feeling some mild aches and pains, supplement a running day with a cross-training day.
What are some examples of cross-training?
Some of the most popular cross-training examples are biking, swimming, and using the elliptical machine. But taking an aerobics class, yoga class, or even playing sports like tennis or basketball can be great ways to keep your body in shape while bringing variety to your training.
Share your training setbacks and successes in the comments section or by tweeting at @parkviewhealth with #runthefort.