What Cross Training Should Runners Do?

Cross training has become extremely popular with runners for a number of reasons, including the fact that it helps stave off boredom. If you are interested in cross training, it is important that you know which exercise options you have. The fact is that there are some exercises that are better than others, which is all the more reason to do your research. All of these exercises will help you stay in shape, but it’s important that you know how. When you take the time to get this information, you will be able to make an informed decision about how you will spend your time.

Why Cross Training is Important for Runners

Anyone who has a passion for running will find that cross training can be extremely beneficial for many different reasons. These exercises can help prevent injuries so that you don’t fall behind with your fitness goals. There are a variety of ways that runners can injure themselves, which is why it’s so important to take these preventative measures.

Another common reason why it’s important for runners to do cross training is that recovery times start becoming shorter and shorter. The less time it takes for your body to recover from workouts, the more efficiently you will be able to make progress.

Increased power is yet another reason that millions of runners do cross training. Those who do strength training on a regular basis improve their stride power quite a bit. You can also expect to become a more efficient runner, using smooth and swift movements so you aren’t slowing yourself down. Doing certain stretches each day can do wonders for your overall efficiency as a runner.


A lot of people who are really into cross training go hiking on a regular basis because it is such a good way to stay fit. People have different definitions as to what passes for hiking, so it’s important to be clear. By hiking I am talking about traversing uneven terrain on an incline.

Hiking is great exercise for runners because it works the feet, legs, butt and core muscles. The steeper the hills you hike up, the stronger your muscles will become. One of the reasons that this is such a popular form of exercise for cross trainers is because it is an effective way to stay in shape while enjoying some nice scenery. Chances are there are numerous places where you can go hiking, so you will want to explore your options.


There is no question that swimming is great cardio, and it will almost certainly give you quite the challenge. This particular form of exercise will help you maintain strong upper body muscles, which a lot of runners tend to neglect. While you don’t necessarily have to be swimming laps every single day, it is a good idea to incorporate it as part of your routine. You will most likely be able to find a local community center with an indoor pool that you can use to swim laps.

Swimming can also help with preventing certain injuries that are closely associated with running, such as shin splints. It is highly recommended that you trade in a running day for some swimming once every week. This will force you to gain more control over your core muscles.

You should start off by swimming laps for 30-45 minutes per session. Use a kickboard when you are beginning so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. Make sure that you learn about some of the more basic things not to do when swimming if you are new to aquatic workouts.


Getting on the elliptical machine every other day is certainly a good idea if you want to be on top of your cross training game. These machines can really help with certain movements that are essential for running. While it’s true that using an elliptical machine can get a little tedious and boring, it is also incredibly beneficial. Most runners who start using these machines start noticing the difference in their performance almost immediately. You will ultimately be very glad that you decided to start using these machines because of how helpful they can be for running.


If you are serious about running and cross training, you should really think about taking a spin class at your local gym or community center. Cycling will do wonders for improving your cardio, and you can get some pretty intense workouts. You will be able to choose the amount of resistance while you are on a stationary bike.

There is also the option of getting an actual bicycle so you can go out and ride in the nice warm weather. If you prefer exercising outside, you should probably start looking into your bike options. If you really want to improve your running game, cycling is one of the best cross training exercises you can do.

Pool Running

As silly as it might seem, running in a pool with a heavy vest on can be an incredible cardiovascular workout. This is essentially the same thing as running on a steep trail, and it will really improve your strength. Make sure that you are running in deep water though, because otherwise you won’t be getting an adequate workout.


Yoga is an excellent form of exercise for runners who don’t stretch as much as they should. Doing these exercises on a daily basis will help you combat the tightness that could be your downfall when you are out running. There are many different yoga poses you can do, but it’s important to start off slow. It will also help to keep your mind clear so you stay focused, which is very important in running. Yoga is all about breathing, which helps to keep you centered and in the present moment. You will most likely be surprised just how much you benefit from doing these exercises each day.


Plyometrics can benefit a lot of people, especially runners who have a tendency to drag their feet. You can build a ton of power through these exercises, and they are quite challenging. Once you have been doing this for a while, you will definitely start to notice the difference when you are running. Runners who do plyometrics every week will find that they become much more efficient with their strides. It is important to keep in mind that these movements can be quite intense, even more so than running.

Cross Country Skiing

If you live in an area with lots of great places to ski, you will certainly want to think about using them to your advantage. The fact is that cross country skiing can help you handle some of the bigger challenges that are associated with aerobic exercise. A lot of runners do this in the winter just to stay fit and on top of their game. Those who have never skied before will want to start off on a beginner’s slope, because rushing into this activity can get you seriously injured or worse. This type of skiing will provide you with a full body workout, and you are bound to notice the benefits after doing it for a little while.


Heading out onto the water to go kayaking is an excellent idea for runners, simply because it helps develop core and upper body strength in a very real way. Anyone who has ever gone kayaking knows just how much strength and power is required to keep propelling yourself forward over the water. Chances are you live by some sort of body of water that you can go kayaking on. Whether it is a medium-sized lake or even the ocean, there are opportunities just about everywhere for this type of exercise. You can rent a kayak when you are starting off, but you might eventually find that you want to buy one of your own.

Rock Climbing

When it comes to staying in shape while being extremely adventurous, there is no better activity than rock climbing. By doing this you will quickly build up your overall strength and agility, which will certainly be useful for running. If you don’t live by any big rock formations, there is always the option of going to an indoor rock climbing facility. This is harder to do than most people think, but it will provide you with a very memorable rush your first time. For any activity like climbing it’s important to get the right footwear.

Final Thoughts

Well there you have we’ve summarized as many different crossfit options into one article that would be appropriate for those who favor running. If you want to stay in shape for running and improve your technique as much as possible, it is crucial that you take a close look at all of your cross training options. All of the activities listed in this article are great for cardiovascular exercise, but some of them probably appeal to you more than others. While it is important to find activities to help you stay in shape, you will also want to look for ones that you think you will enjoy. The more you enjoy doing something, the more you will get from it in the long term.

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