Have you ever been training hard for a race to only pick up an injury a few weeks before the race? Or have you ever run a race hard, and then picked up an injury after the race?
Injury doesn’t mean that your hopes of racing in the future are out of the window. Thanks to the wonders of cross training you are able to keep your fitness up.
Cross-training is when you train by doing other kinds of fitness work such as cycling, swimming or strength training to supplement their running. The goal is to build strength and flexibility in muscles that running doesn’t utilize. Cross training is important even if you’re injury free – especially if you want to stay that way.
But maybe you aren’t willing to cross-train, in part because you simply prefer running to other forms of exercise? Or maybe you aren’t fully convinced of the benefits of cross training? If so, here are 5 reasons why you should try it:
1. You’ll get injured less often
Cross training takes advantage of the particular effectiveness of one training method to negate the shortcomings of another. Road running puts a lot of pressure on your joints, and overuse injuries are common. But when you supplement running with cycling, swimming and resistance work, you’ll strengthen lots of different muscles be less prone to injury.
2. You’ll have greater aerobic capacity
One of the benefits of cross training is a greater aerobic capacity: By incorporating resistance and strength training into your routine, you’ll improve your stamina and boost your performance more than simply running.
3. You’ll be stronger overall
When you cross train you will be stronger and faster. Cross training allows you to strengthen parts of your body other than the muscles, joints and ligaments used in running. When you incorporate resistance and weight training into your workout, you will develop stronger leg muscles to improve your running speed.
4. You’ll develop dynamic flexibility
When you practice a new exercise, a whole new set of joints, ligaments and muscles are stretched out, which means you will have more flexibility throughout your body. If you make a habit of working out multiple muscle groups, you will develop much greater dynamic flexibility and strength than when you focus on one.
5. You’ll heal faster
By increasing blood flow and the delivery of nutrients to stressed or damaged muscle tissue, cross training enables your body to recuperate faster from injury. Employing alternative exercises gives your body the opportunity to heal from your previous activity and, in many cases, will help stretch and strengthen parts of your body that are causing pain.