7 Best Benefits of Cross-Training for Runners

Runners seem to keep it simple; put on your favorite running shoes, plug in your headphones and set off for the horizon. Turns out running isn’t the only thing there is to do.

There are ways to improve your performance as a runner. While strength training is helpful, there’s another form of exercise that can improve your running: cross-training.

Cross-training is exactly what it is; a form of training to complement your major. In recent times, runners have embraced cross-training as a way to improve their performance. So how does cross-training benefit runners? Isn’t it enough to run?


Benefits of cross-training for runners

Let’s look at seven reasons why cross-training is beneficial for runners:

1) Improves cardiovascular endurance

One obvious benefit of cross training is that it helps improve your endurance. Depending on the activity you choose to do, it can help increase your cardiovascular endurance, allowing you to run longer without getting out of breath.


2) Improves muscular endurance

Not just cardio health, most runners report that their leg muscles tire quickly while running. Cross-training helps condition your muscles to handle the added load, as well as the added strain of running for long periods of time.


3) Helps prevent injury

Regular training strengthens and conditions your muscles. This ensures that they are strong enough to withstand additional pressure, which greatly reduces the risk of injury. Plus, it stretches your muscles, which ensures there’s less room for cramping while running.


4) Facilitates rehabilitation

While regular practice of any sport is good, it’s important to take a break from time to time. This allows your muscles to get the recovery they need and deserve. If your muscles aren’t resting properly, it can hurt your performance.


5) Adds variety

No matter how much you love your sport, sometimes it can start to feel monotonous. Adding cross-training to your routine is a productive way to keep it exciting and help you stick to your routine and goals. It’s also a great way to explore other activities you might enjoy.


6) Improves motivation

It’s not that cross-training just improves performance and keeps you motivated – it can also help you enjoy running more.

Taking days away from one sport to dedicate to another can help you enjoy your primary sport even more whenever you get the chance. The best performance is just a bonus.


7) Active Recovery

Yes, some of us are totally disappointed as runners when we have to bring ourselves to take a day off. Cross-training is a great way to make sure your recovery days are also active, so you’re constantly moving while allowing your body to rehabilitate.


If you’re a runner looking to add variety or just improve your running performance, you might want to consider cross-training.

There are plenty of exercises you can do outside of your regular run, and you never know when you might find your next favorite activity. Give your body the recovery it needs by keeping it active. Be careful; practice regularly and show up.


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Richard V. Johnson