Erica King is inspiring women of all ages and running ability to achieve what they previously thought was impossible. She celebrated he 50th birthday in 2014 by running 12 marathons in 12 months. It’s fair to say Erica knows how to keep your body in tip top condition for hitting the pavement and she is here to share her tips on how cross training can improve your running performance.
By Erica King – Run Coach & Founder of Running Divas
Runners run too much.
To ensure that you can run for the long term, enjoy your running and achieve everything that you decide, it is essential to include cross training into your program.
The definition of Cross-training is any athletic training other than your usual sport.
As a runner this cross training can be anything such as swimming, cycling, yoga, 12RND or deep water running. The goal is to improve your overall performance for running and the huge advantage is to reduce the impact of running on your body.
How many sessions a week? This will totally depend on you and what your goals are and how much time you can allocate to training. For me, I like 3 cross training sessions a week to keep my body and mind in tip top shape.
Many runners’ question the importance of cross training and ask why it matters. Runners’ will say that to train for long distance events you need to run lots of kilometres, which is not actually true. To improve your strength, speed and injury resistance, cross training is the key to continued success.
The key reasons why you absolutely must include cross training are:
1. To prevent injury
When runners are only running there is a much greater risk of injury – Just no question about this and then if you are injured you become miserable and lack motivation.
Runners tend to succumb to the same kind of injuries repeatedly but a stronger body will be able to withstand greater stresses and strains.
2. For Rehab
If your body is tired, life is in the ‘crazy zone’ and your body needs a rest from just running then cross training is the very best way to ‘reboot’.
If you pick up a running injury that requires rest, you can still train other areas.
3. To improve your running fitness
Cross training will greatly improve your efficiency and power and significantly reduce fatigue. Adding variations to your exercise routine supplements yours skills in various ways and can increased flexibility, efficiency, power, strength and stamina.
If you are still not convinced maybe knowing that if you stay injury free and continue to train with a complete program and not just run, you will be able to clock up more kilometres and become faster.
4. For active recovery
Swapping out some of your rest days for active recovery helps your body become more efficient at repairing muscle damage and glycogen replenishment. You’re also stimulating blood flow to tired muscles, flushing out any lingering toxins and getting fitter. The better your body becomes at this process the greater potential you have as a runner
5. For enhanced motivation
One of the most important benefits of cross training is that it keeps you sane. Running around the same park or neighbourhood is bound to become slightly boring after a while and a change of scenery is essential. Mixing up your training is great for the body and soul, will keep you mentally fresh and will stop you from losing your running mojo.
6. Weight loss
Focusing on other parts of your body can tone you up and lead to weight loss. Runners tend to be weak in their upper body and core, even though running is a great way to burn calories, so too is cross training such 12RND – love that burn.
What are you waiting for?
Erica provides training programs, nutrition support and women’s specific run articles via her online running community Running Divas. If you would to learn more then head over to their website www.runningdivas.com.au or Facebook page www.facebook.com/RunningDivas