Whether you’re a veteran runner who is in week eight of their training program or someone who is looking to run their first event, utilizing multiple modalities when preparing for your race is extremely valuable. Foundationally, cross-training in the context of endurance running means that you are incorporating multiple modalities into your training in addition to pounding the pavement and logging miles. Complementary modalities can include: cycling, swimming, resistance/strength training, yoga or pilates. While running and incorporating an additional modality may sound daunting, it’s very easy to do as long as you have a plan.

Cross-training is beneficial for a host of reasons:

1. Everyone loves to run faster.

Your race day performance can improve due to being healthier as you toe the start line and stronger all the way through the finish.

2. When balanced, cross-training can help you prevent injuries.

By incorporating a new modality, you will be spending less time running and more time incorporating new movements which helps reduce your risk of overuse injuries. Additionally, if your modality of choice is yoga, you can address your mobility and flexibility further facilitating recovery.

3. You will become a stronger athlete.

Strength plays a role in everything you do. The stronger your legs are, the more explosive and faster you will be. The stronger your core is, the longer you will be able to maintain a strong upper-body position while running.

4. Cross-training can help you fight burnout.

In addition to reducing the stress on your joints, cross-training will reduce your risk of mental burnout by keeping your training fresh. Monday you’re running, Tuesday you’re doing pilates, Wednesday you’re resting, as opposed to simply running each day. Your training should be challenging but fun so feel free to mix it up!

Here is one of my sample weeks of training:

Monday- Strength training
Tuesday- Run workout- capacity
Wednesday- Strength training & yoga
Thursday- Rest/active recovery
Friday- Run workout- speed
Saturday- Rest/active recovery
Sunday- Long run

By Coach Derrick Shoffner