A blog by runners. For runners.

Cross-training activities for runners

cross training

Spending your precious workout time doing anything besides running seems ridiculous — and annoying — to lots of runners. However, as you've probably heard, there are many benefits to cross-training. In fact, cross-training can make you a more balanced and fitter runner.

Yes. We know. Insert grumble.

But in an effort to help you be the best runner you can be, here are some cross-training activities that can boost your running performance:

Swimming: Swimming in a total-body cardiovascular exercise that decreases stress on joints, and it is an ideal workout when you want to work hard without putting pressure on the lower body. In addition, it trains core muscles and upper body muscles that are often neglected in runners.

Cycling: The quadriceps are crucial for strength and power during running. There is no better way to develop these muscles than cycling. Cycling strengthens the muscles that are often depleted after completing running endurance events. Cycling at the right cadence will also increase cardiovascular endurance and fitness. And you can use WalkJogRun to find cycling rides in your area. Hate riding outdoors? Try a spin class.

Yoga: Yoga has many benefits to the runner. Increasing flexibility of muscles and improving circulation are some of the top benefits as well as developing inner focus and peace of mind. Check out our Yoga for Runners series to read more.

Strength training: There are many forms of strengthening that you can participate in: weight training, CrossFit, Pilates, workout DVDs. Finding the right fit for you is all about fun and time management. Think about the most convenient method that suits your personality and try sticking with it at least once per week.

HIIT: High intensity interval training is something that should be a main part of any runner's cross training regime. By combing strength and cardio moves, such as burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, you are enabling both the muscular and cardiovascular system to develop in ways not attainable with just running.

We strongly encourage you to do a lot of cross-training during the spring challenge, so you don't get burned out or injured. Don't forget to log any of above workouts (and all your other challenge workouts) in your WalkJogRun training diary and include #WJRchallenge. Our hashtags are now searchable, so you can see what others are doing to complete the challenge. And remember – each logged workout gets you an entry to win some super cool prizes.

What's your favorite way to cross train?

Written by Danielle Bressoud. Danielle is a licensed physical therapist, practicing for 7 years, and running addict living in Massachusetts with her husband and son.