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The Benefits of Cross Training for Endurance Athletes

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Cross training is on every marathon plan out there so it must be important right? What is it exactly? Cross training is defined by the American Council of Exercise (ACE, 2014) as:

“A method of physical training in which a variety of exercises and changes in body positions or modes of exercise are utilized to positively affect compliance and motivation, and also stimulate additional strength gains or reduce injury risk.”

Cross training is different depending on the sport you participate in regularly. For runners, cross training would include: Cycling, Swimming, Elliptical, Nordic Skiing, Aqua Jogging, Yoga, Kayaking, Golf, Walking, Martial Arts, Rollerblading, HITT classes, Strength classes, a pickup game of soccer (or any sport), etc.…. Basically, anything different than running.

Most training programs recommend at least 1 day of cross training every week. The benefits of cross training include:

  • Injury prevention
  • Improve fitness level
  • Enhance motivation (a break from formal training)
  • Promote recovery
  • Rejuvenate your mind and body
  • Enjoy competitive team sports with friends

When you see those active recovery days on your training schedule – it is all about moving in a different way. Get out there and try some new things as cross training has been shown to prolong your running (or other endurance sport) career.

Stay strong! Coach Lisa

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I help amateur endurance athletes gain fitness naturally so they can be faster, enjoy their sport and be confident on race day!

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