As a runner, there will be days when you just don’t feel like running. On those days it’s good to have a preferred backup by doing some specific cross-training for runners. You don’t have to rush to get a gym membership to increase the variation in your workouts. Having alternative means can also include activities such as swimming or other non-running exercises. It always helps to mix things up a bit as it ensures that your physical development is not lopsided. And as a bonus you reap the different benefits from these exercises, which automatically improve your running either through strengthening or inculcating muscle memory.

It’s often called the perfect alternative to running as it’s a great way to get that feeling of being outside, and adds to your fitness without adding any extra stress on your joints and shins. Whether it’s a bike ride outdoors, a spin class or just your stationary gym cycle, cycling can really shake things up and is kind to your joints. In fact, the lower stress on your knees will help them recover from your running days.

Elliptical trainer
Hitting the gym anyway? Make sure you are getting time on the elliptical trainer. You may scoff at the idea, but it’s an excellent alternative for those who are recovering from foot injuries or are simply not in the mood to run. It mimics the motion of running without affecting your joints one bit. You also get enhanced coordination between your upper and lower body, which automatically translates to better pace when running.

Pool workouts

The swimming pool is often used as a means of recovery post a run, especially when the water is cold. Thanks to the natural resistance, your get to stretch your muscles a lot more. And you don’t even need to swim. Just a few water walking reps or underwater squats are a great way to condition muscles, and build extra strength. Doing bodyweight exercises underwater is akin to doing them with weights. Or you could hold on to the pool steps or edge and sweep your feet behind you. This offers a great stretch for glutes, adductors, and your hamstring.

Ab Gymnastics
Developed by Olympic gymnast Dave Durante, this 10-minute routine dramatically increases core stability and core strength, which are essential in the long run, making you a stronger runner over longer distances. The complete set of 5 routines is designed to target and challenge your entire midline and lower back area i.e hip flexors, abdominals, oblique muscles, back, glutes and hamstrings. This is an amazing medley to keep you charged up on non-running days! Do note that you should be ideally used to basic physical activity before trying your hand at this.

Trampoline workouts
It’s great for weight loss, adds plyometric strength to your lower body and gives your deep core a solid workout! Trampolines are also a lot of fun! It works on your lower body without straining it. A few minutes of trampoline workout each week increase your strength thanks to the inherent plyometric action. Trampoline demands great discipline in form as doing it awkwardly results in injuries so it adds a greater sense of balance in your movements. The jumping has a positive impact on your heart and blood circulation, increasing oxygenation of muscles. This also stimulates your metabolism to make it stronger and more efficient.

Trampoline workouts are great for plyometric focus
Trampoline workouts are great for plyometric focus

This one combines dance, yoga, Tai Chi, and gymnastics, and sounds completely alien. But this is a super effective routine that doesn’t require any equipment – except a simple mat. Designed by celebrity trainer and professional dancer, Lisa Marie Goodwin-Rice, it is especially effective in increasing circulation, opening the chest muscles – i.e giving them a stretch which also improves your lung capacity in return. It also contributes to improving posture, relieving back tension, enhancing functional movement, toning your arms, abs, obliques and back, legs, and glutes in a short amount of time. You can effectively finish a gyrokinesis set in less than 20 minutes.

These are just six cross-training ideas that range from beginner-level to advanced and intense workouts. However, any exercise that’s not running can be considered a cross-training workout. This widely increases the scope and spectrum of routines available to you. Pick and choose as per your body and your comfort level, and mix and match among these to keep things lively and interesting.

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