It's important to follow a cross training plan if you're a runner. As a runner, you most likely have a strong cardiovascular system, you burn a lot of calories, your heart rate is low and your blood pressure is also low. Running is a fabulous antidepressant and form of stress relief. It's a great way to lose weight, stay trim, maintain excellent heart and lung health and remain emotionally healthy.
However, if all you do is run, you run a very high risk of injuring yourself.
Running wears out your ankles, knees and hip joints. Because of the high impact of the sport, your body is subjected to trauma each time you hit the pavement-or the track. People with weak lower back muscles often experience pain after running. Those with naturally tight muscles can find running aggravates their stiffness. Because running is so stressful on the body, you need to counteract the trauma by wearing running shoes (that are in good condition), running on soft ground instead of the pavement as much as possible and by cross training to give your body a break.
Because running strengthens your legs, gluts and core through high impact, high intensity exercise, you will want to focus on low or no impact exercise for your cross training routine. Ideally, running will constitute only half of your weekly exercise program. It's advisable to run a maximum of four days a week.
Instead, you'll want to fill your non-running days with two days of strength training (which can come in the form of weight lifting, resistance band training or toning classes) and a dedicated stretching routine. Yoga is ideal for combining both strength training and stretching into one class, and many runners embrace power yoga as their off-day cross training workouts.
Swimming is another excellent cross training exercise since it is a no impact exercise that soothes those aching joints (the water acts as a natural anti-inflammatory) but still challenges your cardiovascular system and muscles.
These forms of exercise also build muscle in your upper body, something that is often neglected by runners. While you may not want to bulk up too much for fear of slowing your running time, you will want to balance your strong lower body with a toned upper body.
Circuit training is simply any exercise routine that is used to develop an overall balance between strength and aerobic fitness.
Are you ready to start on your path to a healthier lifestyle? these tips for sticking with exercise plans will keep you on the road to exercise success.