Runners are a group of people who are pretty enthusiastic about their sport. There is a lot of passion and dedication. Some even say that running becomes addictive. While this is all great, many runners tend to focus only on their running when it comes to fitness. This can lead to other parts of the body being neglected, or some muscles being overused. Cross training is something that can help alleviate this. Changing up the exercises being done to focus on other parts of the body, and aspects of fitness can have a great impact not only on your over all heath, but also how effective you are as a runner.
One of the greatest benefits of cross training is injury prevention. Cross training will help strengthen weaker muscles that you do not use as much, and these muscles will in turn support the ones that you use more when you are running. It is also a great way to continue to improve your fitness but to target other muscles and joints to help avoid repetitive use injuries.
Since you will be working with different parts of your body when you are cross training you can do some of it when you are resting from your runs. This means that even though you are not running you can be improving your fitness, aerobic capacity, and cardiovascular health even during you off days. You will be stronger overall, have better lung capacity, and better stamina as a result of adding cross training to your workout program.
Improving flexibility is also a benefit of incorporating cross training into your regime. As you work with different muscles groups and joints you will improve their ability to move. This can help you have better running from and efficiency and will again help reduce the risk of injuries.
Another great aspect of cross training for runners is that it is something that can be done while you are injured and unable to run. This of course depends on the type and extent of the injury, but there are many different forms of exercise that can be used to help maintain fitness and alleviate the disappointment of not being able to run.