Cross-training for Runners

I love running. I enjoy short runs, fast runs, long runs…but I don’t love running enough for it to be my only form of exercise. Not only that, but adding in cross-training actually make me a better running.

It helps me strengthen, stretch and improve my fitness, which in turn helps me run faster and stronger. (And helps reduce my risk of injury!) In the past I used ClassPass for almost all of my crosstraining, which means I don’t spend a fortune on classes each month.

Cycling at Woburn Abbey

Cycling

Whether you ride your bike to work, on the weekends with your friends/family, or attend spinning classes, cycling is a great low-impact cardio workout. It’s also a great interval workout (where you mix up the intensity) for all levels!

When I have a long run or speed workout planned for the next day I take it easy with the resistance on the bike.

Barre

My favourite cross-training class is Barre, as someone with weak glutes, barre classes are killer but so worth it. There’s a whole 10-15min bum section! Weak glutes can lead to a whole host of knee and hip problems for runners so this is one area not to ignore.

Barre classes or online videos are brilliant for helping you see how important small movements are, and that they really add up to get those muscles burning – in the same way that small gains in your running add up to big improvements!

Barrecore

Weights  

I’m not the best at doing weights on my own, but I do know how beneficial it can be for strengthening your legs, as well as working your often overlooked muscles such as your back & chest which can help improve running posture.

If, like me, you’re a little intimidated by the weights room, or have no real clue what you’re doing – classes such as BodyPump, circuits, bootcamps and TRX are a great way of including weights into your routine in a fun, teacher-led environment.

Yoga

Whether you sign up to a yoga class at your local studio or utilise the power of YouTube for an at-home practise, adding in some regular yoga stretches will help post-run recovery as well as teaching you to focus on the importance of breathing – helpful when you’re struggling to breathe as you run!

Areas to focus on are hip openers, calf and hamstring stretches and general stability work.

Yoga in the Shard

Pilates

As well as my glutes, I know my core is an area I neglect because it hurts to work it! However a strong core helps stabilise your, improves running posture and helps keep your hips aligned. Pilates – both mat and reformer – are great workouts to help work your trunk area (core, hips and bum) as well as providing a good stretch!

Other classes I love are the HIIT style workouts at Barry’s Bootcamp, Project Fit and 1Rebel, plus boxing which I really want to do more of! I did regular weekly boxing classes whilst training for the Berlin Marathon and it’s honestly the fittest I think I’ve ever been!

5 Comments

  1. April 27, 2016 / 10:41 am

    Fab post, thanks Charlie! I do all of these as cross training except cycling, but my boyfriend and I are getting bikes before summer so that’ll soon change! I never knew how important cross training was until I got an injury and went to a physio who advised me on all the body parts I was totally neglecting. Barre is my favourite too and I always feel the burn!

  2. April 27, 2016 / 2:46 pm

    Never tried Barre. Doesn’t it have something to do with ballet? I’m a large Crossfit / weight lifting body type so I’m scared of anything where I have to be/look graceful 😀

    • charlotte
      April 27, 2016 / 2:53 pm

      Haha yes it does but don’t worry I am definitely anything but graceful! I really like it – you should give a class a go!

  3. April 28, 2016 / 2:33 pm

    When you said “weak glutes”, I perked right up! I’m going to look up some Barre workouts on YouTube. My glutes are my downfall and I am plagued by glute pain on long runs. I’ve done what I feel is a lot of glute strengthening exercises but still doesn’t make a lot of difference. Maybe Barre can help me! Thanks for the other reminders too. I’m often quite clueless how to cross train. Can I really do something other than run? 🙂

  4. Pingback: Link Love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.