Cross-training is the concept of doing workouts other than running in order to improve your running ability and overall athleticism. Most training plans come with rest days built into them, and those days are great for cross-training. Some pretty common cross-training activities include yoga, weight lifting, swimming, HIIT workouts, and more. We’ll delve a little more into options that are better suited for specific cross-training goals below.
It might seem counter-intuitive to take days off from running when you’re trying to improve your speed or distance, but there are a lot of benefits to using your rest days as cross-training days. For many runners (especially new runners), it’s tempting to take those days completely off from all activity, but that could hinder your progress. Also, if you rest your muscles too much after a few training days, your muscles will start to get sore and tight. That’s no fun, and it’s tough to get back into your training runs if your muscles are tight.
As opposed to just getting the nice benefits from cross-training, it’s important to know the reasons you DEFINITELY SHOULD cross-train. It’s not just a nice thing to do. It’s imperative if you’re trying to improve your running ability.
The amount and difficulty of training that you do on your cross-training days should be specific to your goals and your ability level. So, try a few activities that seem like a good match and see what makes you feel the best.