You love to run, but is that the only thing you do? For many runners, there’s no other workout than a long, hard run.
But as much as runners love to run, there may come a time when running isn’t possible. So then what? Do you take the week off and kick back?
I often hear other runners comment that they are taking several days off to rest and I shutter at this. The worst thing is to be inactive for a period of time. Fitness is a use it or lose it game. While studies are unclear, fitness loss can range anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months (beginner to athlete). While the body does needs rest and muscles require recover, those things can be achieved by doing other activities than running. That’s why having a running backup is important.
A running backup is your secondary form of fitness that you enjoy almost as much as running. It’s your runner-up. Why do you runners need a backup?
Cross-training is important as a runner. It can prevent injury by giving running muscles a day off to recover. Weight training, stretching and doing cardiovascular activities that work muscle groups in different ways helps prevent injury because it builds strength, mobility and balance. All key to running injury free. Doing the same fitness activity repeatedly, does not force muscles to think as much about the activity and over time the body builds a resistance to it. An unfamiliar activity, forces the mind and body to be more alert to react to potential quick changes. Aim for 2-3 weight training sessions in each week’s fitness routine, 2-3 different cardiovascular activities such as swimming, biking, elliptical, stairmaster, etc. and always stretch after any fitness activity.
Increases Fitness Level
Doing other fitness activities like spinning, for example, pushes your body in different ways than running. As you climb small hills and cycle flats, you build endurance. This is key for long-distance running. As you climb steep hills and sprint along flats, you have to react quickly to change motions forcing muscles to fast-twitch. This trains the body to handle higher levels of intensity and recover quickly. Interval training like this is good for runners to increase pace and endurance.
Fitness for Injury
Having another fitness activity that you enjoy almost as much as running is necessary in the event you become injured. If running is your primary fitness activity and you are injured, what are you going to do? Depending on the type of injury, you may be forced to stop all activity until you recover. However, if your injury allows you to perform other low-impact activities like biking or swimming and you’ve never done them before, then chances are you won’t try them while you’re injured. Try different activities like zumba, spinning, body pump, cross-fit and swimming. Find a backup fitness you love so that if you are injured, you can continue to maintain your fitness level with that activity while you recover.
What is your primary fitness activity? Do you have a backup for that activity? Runners, do you cross-train?
Lots of Health, Food & Love,
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