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Home / Latest News / How cross-training can help you get into peak shape for the Cardiff 10k

How cross-training can help you get into peak shape for the Cardiff 10k

If running is your main training activity, it may also be beneficial to incorporate other disciplines into your routine such as swimming, cycling, rowing, team sports and strength training.

Benefits of Cross Training for Runners

By crossing over into other training methods you can improve the balance of your muscles, making the body stronger as a whole and thereby reducing the risk of injury.

By using another physical activity a runner who has sustained a running-related injury can continue to train and maintain fitness, provided the other activity does not strain the affected area.

Cross-training provides variety for a runner – mixing up the training can help keep you interested and happy.

Specific gym-based cross training methods

Indoor Rowing

Similarly to running, rowing can improve cardiovascular fitness. Some of the muscle groups which are used in running are also used when rowing. Of course, rowing uses the arms and torso more than running does.

Indoor rowing machines can be programmed with workouts which are specifically geared towards improving different running distances, from sprinting to ultra-distance running. Rowing at a relatively high intensity can promote mental toughness, giving you the ability to keep going when tired. It can also be helpful in creating a greater tolerance to lactic acid build up. If your Cardiff 10k training results in an injury, rowing can very useful in recovering from an impact-related running injury.

If you are interested in rowing as a form of cross-training, be sure to adopt a good technique at the outset, pushing with your legs and pulling with your arms whilst having a straight back. Gyms usually have trainers on hand who would be able to demonstrate a good technique whilst checking your posture as you row. Enthusiasm is a very good thing, but be wary of doing too much too soon – you don’t want to injure yourself ahead of the 10k.

Indoor Cycling

As with rowing, cycling is a great way to raise your heart rate, and thereby increase your cardiovascular fitness. Also, being non-impact, cycling can help you continue to train if you find yourself with an injury. Interval sessions, where you mix it up so that you cycle hard then cycle easy at regular intervals, can train you in a way which is similar to uphill running, but without the impact.

Cycling chiefly uses the quadriceps. Stronger quad muscles can benefit your knees, providing greater support for them and more balance can be created between the front and back muscles of the lefts bring about greater stability and reducing running-related injury.

Gyms will usually have different types of cycles; upright cycles and recumbent cycles. You might find yourself more suited and comfortable with one over the other. Cycles also have different levels of resistance, which you can employ to make your session harder or easier, and you can mixt it up with intervals, pedalling faster and slower. There are also spin classes that you can take part in that test you in an intensive interval training situation.

Strength Training

Free weights, such as dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells, as well as weights built into resistance machines can be used as a good cross-training method to supplement your running. Studies show that strength training can lead to less need of oxygen when running. It follows that, with greater oxygen capacity, a runner may be able to run faster and longer than they have done before. Meaning the Cardiff 10k could be completed in a personal best time…

As muscles are strengthened, joints can be better protected and stabilized. The use of weights, while doing squats, can be particularly beneficial. Structural balance will be promoted, thus reducing the risk of injury. Building some muscle can raise your metabolism, so that you burn more calories, making you lighter and potentially faster when running. Even when resting, you will be burning more calories than previously.

If you are serious about cross-training for the Cardiff 10k, you could enlist the help of a Personal Trainer. A PT can assess your current level of fitness and draw up a plan, taking into account your personal goals and the time you have to achieve them. This programme would be designed for you and only you.


The article was adapted from a post on Run and Become http://run.runandbecome.com/running-training-advice/strength-cross/gym-training-for-runners/

 

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