Cross-training for runners How to mix up your marathon training

cross-trainingIn this blog, we reveal one secret to any successful marathon training programme: running every day is NOT the best way to improve your performance.

In fact, piling up mile after mile puts a massive amount of stress on your body and you'll actually increase your risk of injury.

That's where cross-training comes in.

Cross-training is performing any exercise that is not the one you're competing in. Whether you're cycling, lifting weights or swimming, your heart muscle reacts the same way. So you can spread your effort across other muscles and joints and still keep your fitness levels up.

You just need to know how to do it.

 How to cross-train

It's easy to transfer any running sessions to cross-training. All you need to do is replicate the effort for the right amount of time.

1. Elliptical cross-trainer

A great alternative to a long run as you can keep your pace (and heart rate) slow and steady, or you can mix it up with some aggressive interval training to get your heart pumping.

2. Rowing machine

Perhaps the best bit of equipment to practice bursts of interval training. Set yourself a distance (250m, 500m, or even 1km if you're feeling brave) and do it at threshold pace. Rest, then repeat to improve your speed endurance.

3. Cycling

A high-intensity spin class is a fantastic way to mix up your training, spike your heart rate and boost your fitness levels. Your running will feel a lot easier after this.

4. Swimming

Try a long, steady swim in your local pool to rest your joints and still get all the cardio benefits of exercise. Mix up your strokes/ speeds and take a breather when you need to!

Quick tip: core strength for runners

A strong core is essential for all marathon runners. Our expert running coaches, Full Potential, pick their top 5 exercises to develop serious core strength and boost your performance.