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1865 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Jun 4, 2008 5:50 PM by Doraine
jenniferbaker Amateur 57 posts since
Dec 14, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

May 26, 2008 3:45 PM

Crosstraining question

What activities are considered acceptable for crosstraining while doing a running program? I really enjoy spin class (cycling indoors) every once in awhile, but I don't want to overexert any muscle groups used while running because that is my primary focus. I figure yoga is ok to do, and swimming, but I'm a total newbie when it comes to exercise and muscle groups.





  • dwm082 Community Moderator 1,063 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. May 26, 2008 5:21 PM (in response to jenniferbaker)
    Re: Crosstraining question


    I'm reading "Run Less, Run Faster," which is the guide to the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST) series of training programs for runners. There's a section on cross training, and here's a general synopsis.


    • Good cross training activities will provide good cardiovascular benefits without stressing the running musculature or your lower legs.

    • Swimming, rowing, and biking are all good modes of cross training.

      • Cycling will help develop your quadriceps, which can balance the hamstring and calf strengthening you get from running. It's also good for hip/joint flexibility, and doing intervals on the bike can help with leg turnover leading to faster running. You need to be careful to make sure the bike/stationary bike you use is set up properly.

      • Swimming stretches the hamstrings and increases ankle flexibility, which could improve running performance. It also lets you stay active while letting muscles recover from hard runs. Good technique is key.

      • Rowing is just a generally good, non-weight-bearing workout.

    • FIRST doesn't recommend ellipticals with its workouts, since it's simulating the running motion without the impact. That means you're not really giving your running muscles a rest. Same goes for stairclimbers.

    • FIRST also doesn't consider weight training to be cross training.


    I need to look into cross training alternatives myself, but that's a start.





    2012 Race Schedule

    Providence Marathon (4:48:55)

    Buffalo Half-Marathon (2:03:16)

    Chicago Marathon (October 7)

  • Mark W Rice Pro 118 posts since
    May 21, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jun 4, 2008 5:20 AM (in response to jenniferbaker)
    Re: Crosstraining question

    Jennifer, I know you've seen this but since this was cross-posted, I'm answering here too:


    The answer really depends on what you're goals are. What I mean is, if you want to run races, then you may choose cross-training that uses similar muscles... I don't see that as a bad thing, in part because I'm not going as hard as I do when I run. This still allows recovery. Cycling uses muscles in a somewhat different way and IMPORTANTLY to me, does not cause the same pounding that running does. Cycling is one of my chosen cross-training activities (for me it's because it strengthens tendons without the same explosive impact that running has). I also like Yoga, which also exercises my legs (and strengthen's upper body without bulking it up too much). If your goals do not include racing, then cross-training could be anything, such as swimming, which builds more upper body strength. Because I do have racing goals, I will swim, but it will not be a focus of mine... I will even periodically weight train, but higher reps and it will not be a solid focus... I'll do more yoga and bicycling.






  • jogger2B Rookie 28 posts since
    May 28, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jun 4, 2008 4:02 PM (in response to Mark W Rice)
    Re: Crosstraining question

    I think that the main idea is to keep working on the cardio but give your legs a break (either by biking and reducing pounding or just not using them).  My favorite upper body activity is kayaking.  Although it does involve some $$$ to get started, it beats the heck out of a gym membership for me! It's a great workout for the abs/trunk/arms and actually you use your legs more than you think to stabilize.    I really like to be outside in the world and find it torture to be on any kind of machine.  I will use my treadmill when the weather's uncooperative but I'd much rather be outside running, hiking, or kayaking    Now that the weather is getting nice, I am having a very difficult time wanting to actually do my job.  Any suggestions for that?

  • Doraine Rookie 10 posts since
    Apr 30, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jun 4, 2008 5:50 PM (in response to jenniferbaker)
    Re: Crosstraining question

    oh oh oh...I just read an article about cross-training for runners on a women's running site do bicycling...because I love it, its relaxing, and beneficial.  Best Wishes+

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