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Cross Training For Runners

When it comes to running, to be a strong runner, you should implement other forms of training to compliment your running. There are lots of other activities you can include of which can be beneficial to running and I have outlined a few below:

Cycling

Now cycling is a very similar movement to running when you think about what you are actually doing – a ‘gait’ movement which is one of 7 primal movement patterns our bodies are designed to do. Cycling fitness can transfer to a runner and can be a good lower impact alternative.

Often runners will struggle with maintaining good cadence (with optimal steps per minute being around 180 – a lot right?). So, when cycling, think about turning your legs over fairly swiftly – 85 to 100 rpm is a brilliant range to be working with. This will help to improve your running endurance/ efficiency.

Strength

Strength work can also be super beneficial for running. Given the nature of running, effectively hopping from one leg to the other, for prolonged periods, it is important that our bodies are strong and conditioned to this.

So, when programming your strength training, think unilateral work – where you target each side of the body, to build symmetrical strength. Lunges, single leg step ups or upper body pulling exercises will be perfect. Combine this with core exercises to develop a strong frame for running.

Body weight training

Body weight training is also a very useful tool to help with your running performance. As a runner, moving well is vital – so mobility and recovery work are important – include some yoga or a stretch session regularly to your training.

Once your body is conditioned to training, you can ramp things up a little and add in some plyometric exercises. Think explosive, dynamic moves like tuck jumps or lateral bounds. These exercises tend to utilise more muscle fibres in our bodies, thus making us stronger and more able to use these fibres as we fatigue during running.

Ben Davies
Written By

Ben Davies