My training is extremely varied for most of the year, mainly because I have trouble sticking to one type of fitness activity (I have the attention span of a two year old), but also because cross training is vital to OCR athletes. This past year I’ve tried a lot more cross training workouts than I normally have. I’ve also taken a lot more time “off” of running than I normally would. Even though I’m back in the running game, I still think cross training is vital to success as an athlete. Whether your goals are to get leaner, stronger or be a faster runner, cross training activities can help you achieve that goal.
- Since I’ve started swimming lessons, I’ve realized how much of a total body workout it really is. At first I was under the impression that it was mainly upper body, and while it does require a lot of upper body, your hips and legs are used just as much. It’s also low impact so it’s great for your active recovery days.
- Cycling is also low impact and it’s a great way to strengthen your legs with less potential for knee damage. It’s also fun! Since I can’t own a bike (no storage space currently), I typically do indoor cycling workouts. The music, the energy, the instructors- all of it combined is a fun, challenging workout that really gets you out of your head and helps improve your leg strength.
3. Pure Barre
- I’m not a big fan of straight weight lifting. I like alternative workouts and Pure Barre is just that. It’s a dance themed workout that focuses on small movements with light weights to work your thighs, glutes, hips and abs. In short, all the areas you need to strengthen in order to become a better runner. The only thing I definitely do not recommend is running a long run before going to Barre class. Your legs will hate you.
- It’s essential to be careful here because you don’t want to overdo it and cause an injury. But boot camp is a good way to get in the weight lifting and strength training in a controlled environment that mixes up the activities you do during class. The one I currently go to occasionally is at Prime8 Fitness and they even mix a warm up 800m run in as well as sprints while dragging a tire or carrying a sandbag…perfect training for Spartan Race!
- Climbing is an alternative workout but it’s a great way to improve your overall fitness. If you think it doesn’t require cardio just wait until you’ve climbed a few high walls! Your heart will be pumping for sure! And it’s excellent grip strength training, which again is essential for OCR athletes. Plus it’s fun!
While I don’t focus a lot of my time on cross training, getting in one of the above mentioned workouts weekly has become a part of my routine. It’s nice to mix things up and it’s also fun to try new classes. Hopefully this will make me a better runner and stronger athlete overall!
What types of cross training do you do? Do you have a favorite workout?