To cross train or not to cross train, that is the question. Will swinging a kettle bell, swimming, or Yoga really help me meet my running goals?
There is specificity to any sport, but more so with running. Specifically, to run better, one needs to run. Run, yes, but not get hurt. Enter cross training, but maybe not as you know it- cross training with a purpose.
The human body is a running machine, designed for low grade repetitive shock absorption and long distance pursuits. Unfortunately, repetitive loads in a single plane of motion can overload muscles and tendons placing excess loads on ligaments and bones. In other words, shock absorbers wear out and you begin to break down. Strength training, specifically for hip muscles, increases the body’s ability to absorb repetitive loads generated when the foot impacts the ground. Try 20-30 repetitions of single or double leg bridges to build up buttock muscles. Swimming provides benefit for enhancing breathing/pulmonary function and core stability. Flexibility training improves muscle extensibility which is necessary for optimal muscle torque on various surfaces.
Do professional runner’s cross train? Scott Jurek is the current Appalachian Trail speed record holder and 24 hour endurance run record holder. When asked by the Los Angeles Times about his training habits he replied that he spends 2-3 days every week strength training for upper and lower body, core stability, and flexibility training. http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/07/health/la-he-five-questions-jurek-20120707
Not sure where to start? Come see Mark Henry at OrthoVA for a custom plan to decrease risk for injury and enhance your training program.
Mark Henry, DPT, PT, ATC
Lynchburg Physical Therapy