Thursday, 7 June 2018

Many of us first encounter cross training when forced to find an alternative exercise due to injury. However, there are many benefits to introducing cross training to your schedule.  Cross-training helps to improve overall fitness, promote recovery, enhance motivation, and rejuvenate the mind and body.
Injury Prevention
Research shows that adding other types of exercise such as weights, spinning or yoga to your routine will greatly reduce your risk of injury. In the case of a running related injury it will also give you the chance to heal, as it gives your running muscles a chance to recover while still getting in a workout.  
Variety is the spice of life
Lets’ face it, running can be repetitive. The same old route and routine can sometimes drive you to distraction. Introducing a circuit class or swimming once a week will keep you fit, motivated and keen and looking forward to that next run.
Greater overall fitness
Other forms of exercise will strengthen muscles not used when running and increase you overall power, stamina and efficiency while helping to reduce fatigue. Core strength training is important as it develops the muscles of the stomach, back, and hips and will keep your pelvis aligned properly. This in turn will improve your running economy resulting in faster times.
The Furman Institute of Scientific Training and Recovery (FIRST)  led the way in developing training programs to help runners to improve their race finish times by Running Less to Run Faster.  This alternative approach to training produced some astonishing results. Not only were finish times faster but runners experienced less injuries. One of the pioneers of the FIRST program is still competing in half marathons and is now in his 80s. The theory behind this type of training is to run three times a week and cross train on alternative days with 2 recovery days in between.  The runs themselves also vary in that there is one long run, one tempo run and one speed run.  For our last marathon we adopted the FIRST program, we found it to work extremely well and particularly enjoyed the variety it offered.
Tip of the week:
Choose wisely.  Cross-training will seem much easier if you choose an exercise that you enjoy. Join a class or get involved in a team sport as it will bring out your competitive instincts while introducing you to like minded people.

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