Training Notes : What is Crosstraining?


In most training plans, you’ll come across a day labeled “crosstraining.” What does this mean?

Cross training is any other physical activity that improves running. Cross training is a way to strengthen different muscles than those we use when we run or strengthen the same muscles but using them in a different way. By building strength and flexibility with other activities, you can correct imbalances and prevent injury. Cross training does not have to be strenuous activity. Actually, if you cross train too hard, it can have a detrimental impact on your running. Approach cross training as a way to stay active on your non-running days, but be careful that you aren’t wearing your body down too much.

What sort of activities are cross training?

  • Walking and hiking. Walking allows your running muscles to get a workout but under less stress. Hiking allows you to improve your balance and foot stability while moving at a slower pace. Walking and hiking also allow runners to enjoy the outdoors without the concerns of pace or intervals.
  • Swimming. Swimming is a good cross training activity and is also a good alternative to running if injured. Swimming allows for growth in the cardiovascular and muscular systems while experiencing little or no impact. Swimming itself is a great activity, but you can also run in the pool with the aid of a flotation belt.
  • Cycling. You can ride a bike either outdoors or pedal on a stationary bike. Cycling allows you build your cardiovascular system and legs, but in a different motion than running. The similar cadence of cycling can seem familiar to a runner as well.
  • Yoga and Pilates. Yoga and Pilates are low-impact ways to improve strength and flexibility. John’s Run/Walk Shop hosts yoga classes and Pilates classes weekly. Click for current Yoga schedule and current Pilates schedule.
  • Fitness classes. There are a wide variety of fitness classes and activities available in Lexington. You can practice indoor rock climbing at L’Escalade Fitness. You can find a Zumba Class. You can take up Irish Step Dancing. Lexington is host to a wide variety of options, and you can keep trying until you find a class that you love.

Use cross training as a way to bring variety into your training. Find activities you enjoy, and allow them to become a part of your non-running routine.

What are your favorite cross training activities? Do you have a favorite fitness class?

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