In which Shiva talks about that most important thing runners must do!
Let’s take a food which everybody loves. Potatoes! Imagine having to eat potato every single meal for the next two weeks of your lives. Boredom and frustration aside, you would be missing out on essential nutrients that come from eating a variety of foods. For those two weeks, you’ll have enough carbs. But what about your proteins or fats or vitamins? Just the same way our body needs a diverse diet regimen to cater to all our needs, a runner also needs to have a diverse set of calisthenics to work different parts of your body in different ways – and this brings us to the topic of the day, Cross Training.
(Photo from the lovely blog: Sole Sisters of LSU)
What comes under Cross-Training?
Any and all physical activity which involves movements or activities in addition to just running comes under the broad purview of Cross Training. Though physical sports like Basketball or Football might not be your ideal example of Cross-Training, it can still act as a half-hearted substitute. A few examples of Cross Training activities for runners are
• Yoga/Flexibility Training
• Dancing (Not this kind of dancing though :)
• General Strength Training
If you want to know more activities which you can do as a part of Cross Training, check out this list.
If you pick 10 experienced runners at random and ask them to name one benefit of Cross Training, at least 8 of them will mention injury prevention as the primary reason. Though that is a vital and primary focus of Cross-Training, there are a plethora of other reasons why runners should include Cross-Training as a part of their training plan.
• Rehabilitation during injury
• Better running fitness
• Active recovery
• Better aerobic fitness i.e. Optimal usage of oxygen for your metabolic needs
• Beating the boredom (Remember the example of eating potato daily for two weeks. This is applicable to running as well.)
How often should I cross-train?
Cross Training is generally done once or twice in a week apart from your regular running routine.
How awesome will I become after I start cross training?
As a runner, you will become super awesome. The effects of cross training will be shown within a few weeks and you will be on your way to becoming a star runner in your group.
Hope this gives you an insight into the superpowers of Cross-Training. Start planning fun, cross training activities like Frisbee or Cricket with your respective running group and don’t forget to mention in the comments about your corresponding plans and how the actual event went!