The truth about cross-training

You hear it all the time: Cross-train.

For those of us focused on shattering PRs in our upcoming races, we often default to the tempting thought that the more runs we log on the calendar, the better we get. Wrong.

Another common thought is that you don’t need to hit the gym or ever use weights (“because I don’t want to get jacked!” is my personal fave response). Also wrong.

When I said you will get your best training running an average of 3-5 miles a day/3 times a week with a long run on the weekend, I meant it.


Yes, you over-achievers. I know the feeling. Hold your frustration and hear me out.

Fact: Becoming strong and staying injury free happens through strength training. You cannot expect your muscles to get stronger if you don’t challenge them in other ways. Changing up your routine allows for your body to adapt to many types and levels of fatigue.

However, another common myth is the fact that every workout needs to be a high impact ball buster. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. High impact activities and heavy lifting are great and some of my faves, but pulling weight time at the gym post run is not the answer to getting stronger. Taking care of yourself by honoring rest days and adding in low impact cross training is.

How often should you cross train? Ideally, I like to have 2 times a week allotted to my cross training activities.

Here’s a great rule of thumb when it comes to self planning your own training schedule:

Monday: Cross-train

Tuesday: Run

Wednesday: Run

Thursday: Run

Friday: Cross train or rest day

Saturday: Run

Sunday: Cross train or rest day

What’s a good cross training option? I talk about it all the time: The Bar Method, pole fitness, and surfing are my cross training.

I personally like 2 times a week devoted to Bar Method or a HIIT class at Equinox. If Soul Cycle’s your jam, do that. It’s also a great low impact option, and a great one if you are nursing a running injury and want to stay active.

Barre classes in particular are an amazing form of cross training, one that compliments running perfectly. There’s a reason I’ve been a student for the past 6 years. I have so many great things to say about this form of exercise and its effects on running that it needs its own post. Stay tuned for that!

Pole fitness often gets a bad rep, but I can honestly say that until I started taking these classes, I’d never been able to do a pull up in my life. I can now do 10 from a dead hang. After a run. Thanks Kate!

If you are local and have a Crunch membership, stop by her pole fitness class on Tuesday nights at Chestnut, and be prepared to be humbled on your strength abilities, and just have a freakin’ awesome time all around!

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Moral of the story: Don’t take training so seriously that you injure yourself.

Strength and PRs happen with cross training and rest!  Have fun doing something else than hitting the road or trails 🙂


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