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What I Tried This Week: Cross Training to Recover

Jessica Kuepfer was hit by a car in early fall. It put an end to her formal training for a number of months. She tells us the steps she took to get back to running and looks at the benefits of having cross training to fall back on while recovering from an injury. 


I was beyond frustrated with the irony of the situation: I had incorporated cycling into my training to help build a strong weekly mileage to prevent running-related injuries for my fall season. Suddenly, it was my cross training that put a stop to my formal run training.

As I began the road to recovery, I was more thankful than ever that I participate in so many different sports because doing other physical activities helped me to restore my body to get back to where it was before the accident. Some of the biggest things that helped me get back to regular training were:

1. Rest. I know that it is not necessarily a cross training activity but I wanted to make it top of the list because when you have any injury, oftentimes, the best thing you can do is take time off to allow your body to heal and restore itself. That can mean resting for a couple days, removing regular training entirely or simply deciding to wait until you feel ready to return to running.


crossfit2. Strengthening. I used this time to try out some new-to-me activities such as cross-fit and Revkor. Cross-fit allowed me to do some strength-specific workouts while revkor helped me focus on single leg work combined with resistance. Considering that I had one side that was weaker than the other, this was hugely beneficial for me. I also did heavy weight lifting. Basically, I’m using this set back as an entrance to an early off season to ensure I am as healthy as possible for 2016.

3. Plyometrics. Similar to strengthening, I began incorporating a series of dynamic movements into my weekly routine which includes exercises like tuck jumps, jumping lunges and burpees. All of these help to develop explosive power– something that helps with running hills and overall speed.

4. Indoor cycling. Until I sorted out buying a new bike (and wrapped my head around being out on the roads again) I went to a local cycling studio to take some classes on a spin bike that simulated riding outside. I kept the intensity low to ease back into it.

5. Hiking. I took advantage of the unseasonably beautiful weather that we have had in Ontario and went on quite a few long hikes. It was a great way to still get outside and enjoy my favourite trails in a lower-impact way.

RELATED: What I tried this week: Getting back to it

If you are returning from an injury, there are so many more options to consider when getting back to running such as pool running, swimming, the elliptical and fitness classes. Just find the ones that you truly enjoy and have fun. Chances are, you are going to return stronger than when you left.

You can find me on Twitter @lacesandlattes and my personal blog.