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Essential Cross Training

 

Inestimable benefits

Become mentally and physically stronger! Regular cross training boosts all of the abilities you already have and develops the abilities you need to improve.

- On the mental side, practising skills other than running allows you to avoid burnout and find a new pleasure in exercise. Particularly during the cold winter months.

- On the physical side, cross-training makes you a more well-roundedbetter-performing, and happier amateur athlete.

 

Show imagination and humility…

The structured but also joyful practice of cross training requires changing your points of reference and letting your imagination run wild. Several factors to consider:

- Adapt the type of your non-running athletic activity to the season and to the available equipment. The second half of the fall and winter are perfect for adding a session of swimming into your weekly training routine. Feel free to take a few crawl classes to improve your technique and your feeling in the water.

- It is possible, even desirable, to exert intense efforts in intervals doing an activity other than running. In that respect, biking is extremely valuable. On the road or on a stationary bike, it allows you (after a warm-up) to go through repetitions of varying lengths and intensities, interspersed with recovery periods. It is possible to play with the resistance (indoor cycling) or development (hill climbing) to get a good muscle workout for your quadriceps and hamstrings.

- By practising just one sport too much, runners will lose tonepower, and muscle flexibility over the years. Primarily for the upper body. A progressive and varied strength training programme allows you to correct certain weaknesses. Pay particular attention to strengthening exercises concentrating on the abdominal area. Be careful not to "lift" weights that are too heavy. It is better to work with body weight.

 

How do I build this into my exercise programme?

Obviously, this will all depend on the weekly amount of running training and on how close (or far) you are to a competition. During the winter months – particularly around the new year – “cross training” allows you to remain active while resting the areas you usually train.

Swimming or cycling twice a week (typically 45 minutes to 1 hour of moderate-intensity effort) allows you to keep a good level of endurance. Daily practice of "high intensity circuits” – consisting of a repetition of brief but intense efforts – ensures a good muscular and cardiovascular workout.

 

Think about the long term!

It is tempting and logical to hold yourself to a training programme centred only on running while the pleasure of running isn't tainted by any pain or discomfort. However, you should not wait to have to consult a sports medicine specialist to be persuaded to mix up your routine and to regularly add in a range of activities to train your muscles, bones, tendons and cartilage.

In its own way – without, however, it being an exact science – cross training is the runner's comprehensive insurance. Cross training alone indisputably decreases the statistical risks of injury while allowing you to develop high-quality efforts. Why deprive yourself?

 

 

Good cross training !

 
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