Thursday, April 25, 2013

Erika's Spring Challenge: Cross-train

A few weeks ago, I posed a Spring Challenge for myself. One of the challenges was to get stronger and to cross-train. As an avid runner, the thought of spending "quality" time in another sport seems almost impossible. I find myself making excuses not to cross-train such as:

  • I don't have time.
  • I'm too sore from running.
  • What could possibly be beneficial from this?

So, I promised myself that after marathon season I would make an effort to strength train and to engage in some other form of cardiovascular exercise such as cycling, yoga, boot camp, etc. Yesterday was my first official strength training session and oh my gosh I am sore today! That's ok because I actually like the feeling of being sore (is that weird?). I did a total body workout that included:
  • Dumbbell squats 3x20
  • Lat pull-downs 3x20
  • Lunges 3x10 (each leg)
  • Bicep curls 3x20
  • Dumbbell bench press 3x20
  • Quad leg extensions 3x20
I took the day off from strength training today and I cycled for 30 minutes and then ran 2 miles on the treadmill. The treadmill felt nice on my legs since my knee still hurts. The treadmill did a great job of reducing the pounding on it.


There are a number of reasons to cross-train whether you're a runner, cyclist, swimmer, triathlete, etc. For example, according to Runner's World there are 8 beneficial reasons to do it:

  • Injury prevention: It reduces the strenuous impact on the same muscles.
  • Rehab if you're injured: You won't lose fitness because you'll be doing another form of exercise.
  • Greater running fitness: You could run faster because you're working out other muscles and you gain strength and power.
  • Active recovery: It's a good way to recover from running without ceasing all forms of physical activity.
  • More motivation: Cross-training may motivate you to run more because you avoid the boredom of solely running.
  • Less stress: Cross-training may rejuvenate your body and mind by allowing you to take a break from the hard training you engaged in the running season.
  • Enjoying other activities: This will introduce you to other sports and physical activities.
  • (For women) Fit-pregnancy: If you're pregnant, it will make you feel healthier and it will aid in labor.

What do you do for cross-training?

Pin It


  1. Cross training is m biggest challenge! I get going with a good routine, mostly doing weights and using DVDs like Jillian Michaels' and Jackie Warner, but the when mileage starts ramping up in trainig, I wimp out on the cross training :/ I like the feeling of being sore, too :) It reminds me all day that I worked out!

    1. I totally understand the wimping out part. I do the same. For me, when the mileage increases I just don't have time to squeeze in a strength training session. Also, I don't want to make my muscles too sore because then I can't run as fast as I need to run.

  2. My favorite form of cross training is rowing, or cycling. I really try to make strength training a priority, and I'm slowly learning to love it! I love the soreness of my muscles after a good lifting sesh.

  3. I like the idea of cross training, but I have to force myself to do it. In my mind, running is the only form of exercise that gives me the results that I want. I know that is a terrible mindset, but that's what I'm working with. I have incorporated strength training and core work though...feels good and makes you feel strong!

    1. Paige, I totally share your same sentiments. Cross-training is a struggle for me because I think that running is the ONLY way I can stay fit. I guess we have to look at it a different way: cross-training will make us stronger and faster when running =)

  4. I do a little of everything for cross training. It used to be mainly pilates, spinning and weights. Now its more Spinning and swimming since I am training for a 70.3 triathlon on top of my other running races.

    I think the benefits of cross training are huge. I'm sad I don't get weights in as much as I used to now that my time has to be divided by all 3 disciplines but I know I am still getting stronger and better for it.

    1. Wow, that's awesome! Laura, what are your thoughts on yoga? Will it keep me fit if I do it or is it just a stretching thing? =/