Running Tuesdays: Cross Training Is a Must

by Michael Wilder

The first time I heard about Cross Training was in an article I read in Runner’s World Magazine. This article caught my eye because it was next to the article about what type of running shoe you need to have this year. Being a beginner runner, I read the article and then stored it away in my mind and left it there. I thought cross training was extra work you could put into your training. I was under the impression that running 3 days a week was good enough for my marathon training. Boy, how wrong was I in November 2013!

Around Thanksgiving, I ran the longest run so far in my training for my first marathon. It was about 18 miles, and all I remember was the pain I had in my right knee. I didn’t know why I had that pain, but it hurt and only Tylenol helped. After doing research about knee pain for runners, I had to ice it and take it easy for a couple of weeks. Right in the middle of my training for the marathon, I had to stop. I was depressed and worried! Even when I got back into running after a couple of weeks off, my knee still hurt. The truth is that even today my knee still bothers me. From my research I found out that my knee injury could have been prevented with cross training. With strength training and flexibility my knee would have been fine. But I didn’t cross train at that time. Now heading into my 3rd marathon you bet I cross train! I cross train to avoid injury and to help with my running.

My current schedule for cross training is twice a week, in between my runs. For example, I run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday/Saturday; I cross train Tuesday and Thursdays if time allows. I make my runs mandatory in the morning, but if I don’t get to my cross training until the evenings it’s not the end of the world. Anything I do beyond running is only a benefit. Doing something is better than not doing anything at all!

What I do for cross training is at-home strength training and yoga. I love doing yoga and encourage every runner to do yoga! Yoga helps me be flexible, speed up recovery, and promote breathing. I use a DVD that provides a variety of yoga poses. You can check it out here:

Cross training is a must for me! If you are a beginner runner, I suggest you start cross training now. If you are a runner who does it now and then, don’t worry about it. No matter what for all people, just go out and do something. Be active and stay healthy.


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