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I'm training for my second Marathon in October. I'm following Hal Higdons Novice 1 schedule. I have not been cross training.
Cross training, to me, feels like I'm cheating somehow.
My question is what does everyone, who crosstrains do?
I don't care for biking. I have an elliptical but after 30 min. of that get bored. In my gym I have an elliptical, treadmill, mini trampoline, weights, bench and Inspire M2 weight/pulley system.
I walk my dog each morning and evening and have for a long time, so I don't consider that cross-training.
I'm 1/2 way through my training schedule and feel that I could benefit from cross training, but am uncertain what to do and how to get past the mind set that I'm cheating if I do something other than run.
Biking is very good for the legs! Core and lower back are the most important thing you could/should be doing!
Running core things like: Planks, front side and lower back things like superman's ect!
I have been doing weight-lifting and floor exercises with a focus on building abdominal and upper body strength. It really does seem to make a difference, especially with pushing through hills and endurance for the LR schedule. Everyone is different, but it seems you have wonderful access to a variety of equipment, so I would target the core muscles, as BOSNPM suggested and then try to identify any weaker areas that might be assisted with other exercises. We all have those situations, so determine any problem issues where you could benefit with greater flexibility, strength or stability.
Wishing you all the best for your Marathon!
The reason why cycling is a good cross training for runners is because it is a low impact way to strengthen the muscles around the knee. Exercises to support the core are good for all athletes, including runners. Lateral leg raises are great for the hips, and squats are also excellent for quads and glutes. If these types of exercises bore you, perhaps yoga would help.
I am 6 weeks into a 100 mile training program. During this time I have started to incorporate Insanity workouts 4 to 5 times a week. These workouts have been total body workouts but I definitely notice how weak I was in my gluteus and hip region. The program involves a lot of high intensity intervals. This allows an increase in your VO2 max and also your lactate threshold which help you with your stamina and your top end speed. I have been able to run faster while holding my heart rate lower. I would recommend any type of exercise that works your core, hips, and gluteus. I was really amazed how increasing my strength in lateral movements has helped my running form. If you can't do the insanity or a p90x I would look into different tomata workouts which are used to really get your heart rate up.
I have used swimming for crosstraining for quite a long time, pros: you can do it in any kinds of weather, low impact, does wonders to your cardio and aerobic capacity, helps with your upper body strength. Cons: Well, not too much exercice for legs or core. I guess it can be argued that, more than proper cross training for runners it is a recuperation exercise for injured runners.
Recently, I have been including some core training too. It does not take long, feels ok, and since I have been doing it I have not experienced a pain in the lower back that used to trouble me from time to time.
5k: 20:12 (December 31st 2012)
10k : 44:30 (November 6th 2011, March 18th 2012)
Half Marathon: 1:35:27 (February 3rd 2013)
I like half marathons! Seven completed so far and trying to get back on optimal shape to improve my PB. Once I complete my 10h half I will start thinking about full marathons.
I'm boring. I own an elliptical crosstrainer and an exercise bike, and those are the bulk of my crosstraining. I also use free weights and do core work twice a week. Once each week or 10 days I get to the gym and use other crosstraining machines (usually the Stairmaster or a rowing machine) for variety.
For a runner, I do an unusually high percentage of aerobic crosstraining, about 50%. I can only run 2 or 3 times per week because of a history of knee problems (congenital misalignment and instability). I don't consider it cheating because I don't have a choice. If I tried to run 5 or 6 times a week, I would have wiped out my knees years ago. As it turns out, I am now 56 and still happily running. Many of my running friends who didn't do any crosstraining have long since burned out or turned to other sports.
@ 5K: Ontario Mills Run, Ontario, CA, 25:19
@ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker Run, Los Angeles, CA, 51:44
I lift weights in the gym 2 to 3 times per week (legs every time). It can make running a challenge if I want to run that same day or even the next day. It makes my progression as a runner slower, but my legs are really strong. My progression is slower, but my speed is pretty good (especially since I haven't tried speed work yet). My legs get tired, but I don't have any pain (knocking on my wood desk right now). I also bike outdoors on a road bike from April until October. I can't stand riding indoors either, but I rent movies and have biking dvd's when the weather gets cold or the roads are bad. I ride my regular road bike in a trainer in the basement.