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Cross-train to conquer the long runs

swimming-for-runners

Running is great, but as many runners know, the sport doesn’t put every muscle group to use. Plus it’s hard to do just one sport. Although running is your number one, by including other sports into your fitness routine, you  can actually become a stronger runner. Cross-training has many benefits if you choose the rights sports. Just don’t stray too far from running.

Swimming 

The pool has so much to offer. There are many ways to train in the pool so that the workout works to the runner’s advantage. An injured runner can do speed intervals or basic mileage in the pool so as not to let fitness levels dip while minimizing impact. For the runner who wants to work on form, the slow-motion effect of running in water is a great way to focus on stride, getting mechanics just right. Take a break from running entirely and use the pool to swim! Swimming engages different muscles which can prevent injuries from overcompensating. Runners have the option of doing pool sprints if they want to ditch the track or they can do a workout for endurance but alter the stroke to give the legs a break.

Rowing

Go hard while not beating up your legs. Many runners forget about their arms– in a sport that sometimes seems like it’s all about the legs, giving the arms less attention is common. But rowing works more than just arms. Use this sport as a way of strengthening the back, glutes, hamstrings and quads. This can be a fun alternative to dreaded muscle work or runners can hop on the rowing machine to do hard intervals while not battering the legs.

Soccer 

Soccer players are fit people, there’s no doubt about that. If you’re one of those runners who loves your long run but will do anything to avoid 200m intervals or stride work, opt for a game of soccer. It’s a fun way to stay fit and get that speed work done. You know how much prepping your body to run fast is crucial to race performance.