Cross Training for Faster, Stronger Running
At LFR we are a strong believer in cross-training to deliver fitness benefits to runners. Many coaches will actively recommend cross-training, or multi-sport activities for runners. It is felt that one-sport runners often are in poor skeletal shape and conditioning above the waist, and could use additional workouts for better overall fitness. How often has it been said that runners have no upper-body strength? Secondly, they believe that running a bit less and spending the time saved on other sports reduces the risk of the impact injuries associated with running, whilst retaining overall fitness. So its all good, right? There are a myriad of studies on this subject, but in essence, if you want to enjoy your time running with less risk of injury, or to become overall a bit fitter generally, then mixing in some other activities with your running can benefit you.
LFR has many members that actively take part in activities like cycling, swimming, gym sessions, cross-fit and other activities that benefit their running capabilities.
During the Spring & Summer months, when we are able to we put on a circuits style fitness session once a week. This is a hugely popular session across a broad range of our members giving them a chance for an all over body workout in a HIIT style set.
Training other parts of the body to be stronger will not only help you become a faster runner, improving your chances of reaching your goals, but will also help prevent injury. Exercises such as squats, lunges, planks, leg raises, Russian twists, press ups and others will strengthen not only the muscles required for running, but also other less obvious muscles, in your core such as the abs, neck and back, which in turn will help you maintain better running posture. This is how it benefits you as a runner. When you look at a lot of runners taking on a hard run, be it fast or long, the thing that goes first is the posture. The body simply tires and starts to fold a bit as it struggles to hold onto good posture. When you adopt this 'tired runner' posture you hugely increase the chance of injury.
Cycling, like running, is largely dependent on the major muscles in the legs. It's also a great workout for the cardiovascular system, which will pay off when you're out running, but gives you a break from the impact. Cycling can also aid with recovery from long runs by using muscle groups that are in opposition to those you use most with running, especially your quads and glutes.