Cross-Training to Beet Injury
Although running is an excellent form of exercise and a go-to stress buster for me, it’s important to also realize the importance of cross-training. Cross-training is a key component in any exercise routine, especially when training for an endurance event such as a marathon or a half-marathon. Cross-training refers to alternative and complementary forms of exercise, other than that of training. In reference to runners this could look like spin class, swimming, yoga, circuit-training, or strength training. The purpose of cross-training is to supplement your running, increase strength, increase flexibility, and decrease risk of injury. Added bonus – it helps to prevent boredom or burn-out when training! Incorporating cross-training into your marathon or half-marathon training program can help ensure that your training will be safe and effective, leading to a stronger you who crosses the finish line instead of an injured you at the sidelines (OK it doesn’t have to be that dramatic). Today after I got my run in I tried an outdoor group HITT workout lead by Kadi Fit. It was a blast! It allowed me the opportunity to get outside and out of my comfort zone, meet new people, and build my strength. Everyone there had different goals and specific intentions, but ultimately everyone was there for each other to encourage and inspire each person towards their goal and their best self.This is the group after the workout, so much energy! Attempting speed-skaters to burpees, recruiting all kinds of rarely used muscles and movement patterns.
Let me rewind about two years, I was training for a half marathon and doing it all wrong. It was my first half and I didn’t have a coach, a training program, or a clue! I bought a new pair of running shoes and hit the pavement. I slowly began to neglect my yoga practice and the gym, squeezing a run in whenever I had an extra nugget of time. And that my friends is exactly how you end up in a boot in the middle of Greece….
The boot is not an experience I want to relive again. I had to forfeit my bib and sit on the sidelines of the half marathon due to a stress fracture that couldn’t heal in time. (PSA, ratchet tan lines will incur from that boot). I quickly reevaluated how I was training, my exercise routine, and my approach to running. I researched and asked seasoned runners all the questions. I learned the importance of cross-training, rest, stretching, and body work, and successfully crossed the finish line of my first full marathon in December of last year.
This year I am so excited to be working with Fillnow Coaching to see how running workouts complimented by cross-training will improve my performance.
Here are a few suggestions for how to incorporate cross-training into your routine:
- Make it a routine. Schedule cross-training into your weekly training schedule, and stick to it.
- Find your strength. Strength training the muscles required for efficient running will reduce risk of injury
- Get stretchy and grounded. Yoga is a great compliment, not only will your body thank you for the stretch but your mind and heart will thank you too.
- Spice it up but also do what you love. Cross-training is a great way to explore new forms of exercise and fitness classes (barre, pilates, yoga, swimming, etc.) and to participate in activities and exercises you know you love.
- Keep an eye on your heart rate. Get in the habit of checking your heart rate every morning. A heart rate that is elevated in the morning can be a sign of overtraining, or adding in too much cross-training.