Swimming – is the perfect post-run cool-down or stand alone cross training for runners. The muscle patterns used in freestyle (& other strokes) are quite different but for those with a solid running focus deep water running will imitate the running action providing excellent muscular strength and form development. Swimming is also great to relieve sore muscles with recent studies showing 15mins immersion in 15 C water improved recovery & performance for running the following day.
Cycling – Many smart runners incorporate cycling into their training routine as a good low impact cardio exercise. In fact Melissa Rollison, 2011 Noosa Triathlon champion, took up cycling as cross training after suffering repeated injuries from her demanding her 3000m steeplechase training. Fast forward a few years and the talented former runner is a triathlon revelation.
Mountain biking is a great cycling alternative for those who don’t enjoy road riding and the demanding nature of the hills will help build great strength & power in the lower body. And you might just find a new off road running track for your next training run.
Rowing – Both indoor and on the water is a demanding cardiovascular exercise and full body strength workout. Interval sessions can be easily adapted ad the fitness benefits are very transferable for all runners. Elite rowers have some of the highest fitness levels (VO2 Max) of all athletes. Perfect during summer (or in the gym) rowing is powerful cardio training for runners and will develop strong core strength.
Skating – Roller-blading and roller-skating are both great activities to help runners. There is a strong cardiovascular benefit with skating and great leg strength development, especially in the gluts which many runners lack. Strong gluts can help prevent a host of running injuries and skating is lower impact than running for those at risk of overuse injuries.
Circuit training – combining running specific strength exercises in a circuit format will help prevent injuries and muscle imbalances and can improve speed. Circuits should be personalised depending on your strengths & weaknesses but good core beginner movements include; lunges, calf raises, 1 leg squats, skipping and hip extensions.
Pilates – the core strength development in Pilates is essential for runners of all levels. Especially obvious in endurance events when runners fatigue our form suffers and our risk of injuries increase. Strength, flexibility and balance can help improve performance and reduce your risk of injury
Remember the key to cross training is to provide a variation on your exercise routine to challenge the body. Also it should provide an effective workout that doesn’t involve high volumes of running to give tired joints and muscles much needed recovery time.OUTFIT health and fitness aims to help people people improve their lifestyle for better health, feel great, more energetic and improve fitness. Through the right mix of motivation, specific and graduated training programs, personal challenges and expert health advice OUTFIT can change your life.