Four Approaches To Cross-Training For Runners

What kind of cross-trainer are you?

Should you be a maximalist, supplemental, seasonal, or emergency cross-trainer?

There is no single right way to train as a runner. Individual runners need to train differently based on their experience level, training history, susceptibility to injury, goals, life schedule, tolerance for high-intensity running, and other strengths and weaknesses. There is also room for personal preference, experimentation, and changing things up for variety’s sake.

RELATED: Can’t Run? You Can Still Train!

What’s true for run training is true for cross-training as well. There is more than one way to do it and your choice of approach to cross-training should be based on many of the same factors listed above. While I generally define cross-training as any form of exercise that a runner does besides running, in this article I wish to focus specifically on cardiovascular training alternatives to running such as ElliptiGO riding, elliptical training, bicycling, pool running, and steep uphill treadmill walking. I’ve written elsewhere about how to choose a primary cross-training modality. Here I would like to discuss four ways to incorporate your chosen running alternative(s) into your training for running events. My names for these approaches are emergency cross-training, supplemental cross-training, seasonal cross-training, and maximalist cross-training.

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