I think I love cross-training as much as I love running. I use cross-training as a way to spend time with my (non-running) friends and family. Walks along the beach, hiking in the mountains, and tennis before brunch are some of my favorite ways to incorporate other activities into my overall fitness journey.
CRISS CROSS APPLE SAUCE -- WHAT IS CROSS-TRAINING?
Cross-training is simply your non-running workouts. It will not only make you a better runner, but it can also help prevent injury (more on that below). What I love about cross-training is that there are so many activities you can do such as: swimming, hiking, strength training, rowing, barre class, yoga, and the list goes on. Your cross-training can be high or low intensity and you can change it up from week-to-week!
WHY IS CROSS TRAINING IMPORTANT?
Cross-training is important because it allows you to incorporate exercises that condition different muscle groups. It also helps vary the stress placed on your most used muscles, which is so important for all athletes, but especially runners. When I’m following a training plan or preparing for a race, I focus my cross-training around flexibility, core work, and low impact exercises. When I’m not following a specific plan or don’t have any races coming up (hello 2020) then I incorporate more strength training and HIIT workouts.
RISK VS REWARD
Personally, I love to play tennis and I incorporate that as ONE of my cross-training activities. One thing to note about tennis is that the quick lateral movements (side to side) can increase your chances of injury. One wrong foot placement can cause a sprained ankle or worse and this is true for many types of cross-training activities (rollerblading, skiing, etc.). Be sure to weigh your chances of injury against other equally intense (or fun!) activities you could do instead. Don’t let this deter you from your favorite activities, just take some extra precautions and stay safe!
I <3 XT
I hope that helps give you a better understanding of cross-training and why it's so important to incorporate it into your fitness journey. Use it as an opportunity to try out new things and listen to what your body needs (low vs high impact). See ya on the tennis court!