Cross Training

Running may be the best form of exercise (we may be a little prejudice on this one), but it's not the only one. Adding different forms of exercise will help strengthen other areas of your body. One thing is guaranteed... running will help you with other activities, and other activities will help you with running.

Strength training, stretching, aerobics, etc. There are so many options to choose from when it comes to being fit. To help your running, and help avoid injuries, it´s important to condition your entire body. Three, or more, days each week should include some type of fitness routine. Visit our Go For The Gold Fitness site to help get you started.

Some say swimming is the best overall form of exercise. Swimming uses your upper body much more then running. Swimming also forces you to stretch more, increasing your flexibility. In addition, water is no where near as hard on your body as a concrete road. But swimming back and forth in a pool is not for everybody, and swimming in the ocean is not an option for must of us. For more on swimming, visit our Go For The Gold Swimming website.

Probably the most popular form of cross-training for runners. Riding a bicycle is easy on the body and can be done almost anywhere. Being in good shape from running will allow you to go an good, long bicycle rides (as soon as you get used to the riding position and sitting on that seat). Since bicycle riding causes very little impact on your body, may advice runners to start switching many of our running days to bicycle days as we get older.

For a runner, a walk around the block may not sound like exercise, but it is. You're moving your body, getting fresh air, and enjoying the fact that you're in great shape and can walk for miles without even feeling it.

We're not talking about a walk around the block or in the mall. We're talking about a true hike up a mountian or around a nature trail. Hiking is a natural cross training activity for runners. But remember the muscles your using for hiking are similar to those used for running (knees, ankles, etc.). So if you're scheduled for an "off" day, don't go for a 10 mile hike. Consider a long hike an "easy" running day, and use your "off" day for some real rest.

Cross Country Skiing
Some of the best conditioned athletes in the world are cross country skiers. Little impact, able to exercise for long periods of time and high altitude training all contribute to this. If you have access to this activity, and the cold weather doesn't bother you, this is definately one exercise you should combine with your running.

Roller Blading
Roller blading is so much fun, you may not realize how good of exercise it is.

Other Sports
Anything is better than nothing. But runners training for a particular event, especially a marathon, should be very careful being a "weekend athlete" in other activities. Your muscles are used to going straight ahead. Increasing the strength and flexibility in your leg muscles is important, And cross training in other sports is a great way to do this. But after training for the past 16 weeks for a marathon, and you're down to your last couple of weeks, the last thing you want to do is twist your ankle playing a little tennis. Save that tennis match with a friend, pick-up football game or company sponsered volleyball league for after your race.

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