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How to cross-train your way to fitness

A little injured but still want to make it to the start line? Here are some workouts that can get you there

Canadian track championships

Luc Bruchet is a 2016 Olympian over 5,000m and was named to the Canadian World Cross-Country team in November, 2018. After a good winter of training, he developed a stress reaction in his foot and won’t be able to compete next weekend at the championships in Denmark. 

Luc Bruchet
Photo: Canadian Running

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But when you’re trying to go back to the Olympics, being injured doesn’t mean that you take a break, it means you spend a ton of time cross-training. 

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Best methods of cross-training

Bruchet says he used to stick to pool running for cross-training, but he’s recently started cycling more consistently. “I think they both have their use, depending on the injury, although I find it much easier to get my heart rate up on the bike. I have to say though, that it takes a while for the tush to get used to a hard seat.”

Favourite workouts

Bruchet says the name of the game in the pool is short reps with even shorter rest. “You seem to recover much quicker between intervals in the pool, so too much rest and you don’t get the same benefit out of the session. After a 10- to 15-minute warmup I like to do 90-second repeats with 30 seconds’ rest. I find 90 a good number because you can go hard without losing too much form in the pool. The short rest keeps the effort consistent and allows you to maintain a solid heartrate. I usually try to do 15 to 20 reps. Really it’s a matter of how long you can survive the boredom of the pool.”
 
The runner says he has a bunch of different workouts for the bike, but the key is maintaining your heartrate. “I like to break the ride down into 10-minute sections and try to get seven to eight minutes of hard effort with shorter rest mixed in.”
 
Luc Bruchet. Photo: Maxine Gravina

Staying motivated through injury

Staying motivated through an injury is one of the hardest parts. Especially if running is a social endeavour for you, the solitude of cross-training can be brutal. If you like company during your workouts, check out a spin class or workout class or simply ask a friend to go for a bike ride with you. Bruchet also says keeping your goal in mind will be huge motivation while your body heals. “Staying motivated can be hard. One thing that helps me is keeping the big goal in mind–ultimately that is the focus. You have to deal with the hand you’re dealt, so if that means a bit of cross-training, then so be it. But for me the chance to run at the Olympics again motivates me to push myself through all this cross-training.”
 
Bruchet hopes to get back to full health and then work on getting back into running shape. “If things go well, I hope to return to the track and find some solid form that leads me into the 2020 season with confidence.”