Running is a continuous, repeated movement which involves your legs in a great measure. For this reason, there is a great risk of muscle imbalance that can lead to serious overuse injuries over time. If you want to avoid this risk and to be the best runner you can be, cross training is the key.
Also, if you've reached a plateau by solely running, cross training exercises can give you the desire to seek new challenges, get better every day and be part of a team, which is a plus for runners everywhere.
Those who have tried cross training say that it complements the running performance, strengthening your body from head to toes, making you a better runner.
Let's take a look at how cross training can make you a better runner:
- Improves your overall health and quality of life. Cross training gives you an overall good feeling throughout the day and provides you with a better metabolic health. It also increases your cardiovascular function.
- Reduces the risk of injury. For example, doing strength workout in addition to running, it lightens the pressure that is felt by your leg muscles and connective tissue. It's also important to diminish the muscle imbalance produced by the overuse of only one group of muscles for a long period of time.
- Recover faster from races. Your body is better trained and less fragile overall. With proper cross training, you will not only be able to experience faster recovery every time, but also prevent injuries from occurring or coming back. You can rejuvenate the mind and body during breaks from formal training and feel so much better.
- Enhances your metabolism. The effect of high intensity training, however long it takes, has long-lasting effects on your body and metabolism. It can help decrease body fat, increase muscle mass, help gain strength, power and speed, and increase your ability to sprint faster, and longer.
- It counters the damages of running in one direction for a long amount of time. While running, your body moves in a limited range of motion and in a single plane, reducing your performance capacity. Increasing the variation of movement and using a diversity of movement patterns can go a long way for an experienced runner.
- Increases your skills. Cross training can be the secret ingredient required to improve your running times. A training program such as cross training hits nearly every muscle, sends your heart rate soaring and increases explosive strength and stamina.
If you already mix running with cross training exercises, we would love to hear the ways in which cross training has helped you become better. If not, go ahead and give it a try. Once you see the desired results, you will never go back to just running.