So last week, I talked about incorporating cross-training into my schedule. I used to run almost daily, figuring that more was always better. I have found, however, that trading some of my runs for other activities has allowed me to run longer, faster, and with fewer injuries.
Here are my favorite non-running activities:
Initially I resisted yoga – it just seemed so boring. But after my PT suggested it, I begrudgingly went. At first I only went as a way to rehab my injury, but eventually I actually started to like it. Yoga has not only helped strengthen and stretch my body, but has helped me to relax (something I don’t do well). Plus power yoga is anything but boring – it’s really hard!
As a runner, it’s easy to ignore muscles not directly involved in running. This can lead to imbalances, weakness, and injury. Incorporating strength training is a great way to develop both running and non-running muscles. There are lots of resources for runners looking to incorporate some strengthening activities. I can’t say I love strength training yet, but someone did comment on my arm muscles the other day – I guess those push-ups are paying off!
As the proud owner of a new bike, I have been doing a lot of this lately. Biking is a great way to get your legs moving without the pounding of running. It also works your legs in a totally different way. I like to think of myself as having pretty strong legs, but the soreness after my long bike ride the other day quickly humbled me!
The elliptical doesn’t have the best reputation. For many it conjures up the image of someone spending hours on the machine without ever breaking a sweat. While the elliptical is easy to use ineffectively, it can also be a great tool. In the spring, I took time off from running to heal an injury. My PT had me replace my running mileage with time on the elliptical. It simulates running, but without the same strain. When I was able to run again, I had not lost nearly as much running fitness as I had expected.
What are you favorite non-running activities?