With the temperatures dropping and the snow covering the sidewalks, running outdoors sounds less and less appealing. But if running a marathon, or half marathon is on your list of goals for 2019, cross training this winter is a must! Cross training involves the utilization of other exercises or activities, to improve running performance. It can also be used to prevent overuse injuries or to assist in the rehabilitation of running injuries. If running outdoors is not possible, no worries, here is a list of exercises that you should be doing to help you accomplish your 2019 running goals.
Indoor spinning is a great aerobic activity to compliment training for runners. It can mimic the cardiovascular activity of running but with less impact on the joints of the legs. By strengthening the major muscle of the legs, spinning can help to prepare the lower body and spine from the harsh pounding of road running.
Similar to spinning, swimming can be a great activity to boost your cardiovascular endurance while minimizing strain on the joints. Swimming is also a full body workout; therefore, it works muscle and joints that are not used while running which is important for overall injury prevention. The pool is also a great place to try deep water running . Water running allows the muscles involved in running , to train without exerting additional stress on the joints and bones of the body. In fact, training in water reduces the amount of pressure on the spine by as much as 90%!
Runners often forget the importance of flexibility in terms of injury prevention and running performance. Yoga works on balance and stability, both are important in preventing common running injuries like ankle sprains and knee pain. Yoga also helps with breathing techniques which are important for longer runs.
Building muscular endurance is important for runners as it helps prevent muscle fatigue and reduce the chances of injury. Strength training can also improve speed and performance by increasing muscle efficiency and power. When choosing your workout, opt for exercises that involve challenging your balance like single leg squats or lunge-type variations. Consider adding plyometric movements, which are exercises that involve a hop, skip or a jump. This will improve both speed and power resulting in more efficient running.
This is a full body cardiovascular exercise that also focuses on the core. Core training is especially important for runners as the core is the muscle group that generates the force needed to propel the body forward.