Running is about the only way to become a better runner, but cross-training can help to increase our cardiovascular fitness and decrease the risk of injuries. Sometimes we need physical and mental break from the usual running sessions, or a running break before a race. To include elliptical sessions in our training plan is a great way to simulate running but with no impact. Many professional runners add the elliptical in their regular training schedule. The day before a race, if you still want to move but not run, including a short elliptical training session or swim will have no impact but still be very beneficial. Post-race recovery can also include elliptical or swim or cycling training sessions to activate the blood flow to help with the muscle recovery.
Strength training can help runners reduce injury risk, improve running economy, and contribute to good running form. Strength training sessions help build stabilizer muscles, especially the ones that support the muscles we use for running. To strengthen our core, glutes, even arms is very beneficial in improving our running form and performance. Try to include two or three strength training sessions per week in your training plan, by incorporating basic exercises in your workout will build a solid strength base.
Basic Strength Exercises (you can add many variations to keep it more interesting)
- Planks and side planks, plank row with rotation and press ups with dumbbells
- Bicycle crunches
- Russian twists
- Mountain climbers
- Squats, single-leg squats, add some weights
- Lunges, lateral lunges, reverse lunges
- Hamstring curls with fitness ball
- Pull ups
- Tricep dips
- Press ups with dumbbells
- Bicep curls with dumbbells
- Chest Y-fly with dumbbells
- Dumbbell bench press