Lovisa Anderson, Trainer, Body Dynamics Headquarters
I love to run. I love to run because it makes me feels strong and it's a great time to catch up with friends while getting a sweat. As a trainer, I've had the pleasure of helping hundreds of people learn to run, but by no means am I a competitive marathoner or any kind of running expert. I'm totally okay with being an average recreational runner, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to continue to progress and improve my run times.
One of the best ways to hit that new personal best is to cross-train. For die hard runners out there, this can be a hard sell because it's running that you love. Tiger Woods isn't the greatest golfer in the world just because he has a great swing. It's because he hits the gym just as often as he hits the golf course. This goes for athletes in all sports. More and more, the importance of cross-training is being recognized and practiced.
Why cross-train for running?
Mixing up your workout routine so you're not only running is what cross-training is all about. You can do anything from weight training, to swimming, to yoga. Supplementing your run program with other activities allows you to vary the stress placed on your body. Cross-training is important for injury prevention as your muscles and tendons are under a tremendous amount of stress though repeated movement, and they need an occasional break.
Now how do you choose where to start? If you have tight hamstrings, a common running trait, a yoga class could do you some good. Are shin splints bugging you? A spin class would be a great option to get a sweat with no impact. Weight training can increase your power for when you hit that killer hill in your run and core work will give you a strong running posture. Above everything else, cross-training breaks up any boredom and repetition to make your runs that much more enjoyable.
Here is a sample workout to add to your new routine to break through a fitness plateau. Start with a 10 minute warm up and stretch when you're finished.
1 jump squat (or stationary squat)
2 jump squats (or stationary squats)
...and so on, up to 5 to 10 sets.