5 Reasons All Runners Should Cross-Train

As the temperatures are cooling, running season is heating up. All over Metro Atlanta, runners can be seen competing in Saturday morning races and on sidewalks and parks throughout the week. If you run, one of our biggest tips to keep you healthy is cross-training. 
Cross-training is defined as any sport or exercise that supplements your main sport. For runners, it’s usually any low-impact activity other than running that elevates heart rate for an extended period of time. Here are five reasons runners should incorporate this into their regular training cycle:

1. It helps balance your muscle groups. Cross-training helps strengthen your non-running muscles and rest your running muscles. You can focus on specific muscles, such as your inner thighs, that do not get worked as much while running and may be weaker than your running muscles.
2. You will maintain or even improve your cardiovascular fitness. Many cross-training activities are great cardiovascular workouts.
3. It reduces your chance of injury. By balancing your weaker muscles with your stronger ones, you’ll help reduce your chance of injury. Participating in low-impact cross-training activities, such as swimming or water running, will also lessen the stress on your joints.
4. You will avoid getting bored with running. Running day after day will eventually burn out even the most hard-core running enthusiast. Cross-training gives runners a much-needed mental break from their sport, which is especially important for those training for long-distance events such as marathons.
5. You can continue to train with certain injuries, while giving them proper time to heal. Runners suffering from injuries are sometimes told by their doctors to take a break from running during their recovery or rehabilitation periods. But with certain injuries, it is possible to continue with cross-training. Cross-training can help injured runners maintain their fitness and deal better with the frustration of being sidelined from running. Cross-training may speed recovery, even faster than recovery times with sedentary behavior.

If you’re dealing with an injury, you may need to cross-train more frequently. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist to get advice on how much you should cross train and what activities are best for your specific injury. While cross-training, maintain low intensity and short duration. Remember that the purpose of this activity is to promote recovery and not to push your limits.

If you’d like to speak with someone about our running rehabilitation program, call Becky Thompson, PT, at 678-312-2803 or send her an email.


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