Cross Training For Runners, It’s About Running Faster And Looking Good Doing It

Cross Training for runners Is A Must To Get Stronger, Run Faster And Look Good Doing It

Cross training, why should you as a runner cross train. you don’t need to but if you want to improve your times and look a whole lot better doing it you should.

Lets face it as a guy, running makes you skinny. With a bit of gym work and/or some leg strengthening training you are going to look a whole lot better doing your favorite sport. Here are a few excellent training exercises to look at.


I am starting with cycling as this is one of the things i do to increase leg strength as well as this upper body workout lower down the page.

As a runner you will find cycling much easier than running (just don’t ask a cyclist). It builds leg strength and improves leg cadence. Because cycling involves gears and teaches a rhythmic approach to hills, runners learn not to rush hills but run them at a constant pace. It also great to speed up recovery from a running injury.


Personally i dislike swimming but that’s probably because i am a really bad swimmer. Swimming however tones almost every muscle in the body.

It is also an excellent cardio workout and teaches you to regulate your breathing. My wife uses swimming as her cross training exercise and not only looks good but is pretty fast on the road.


I have included canoeing because a lot of runners participate in canoe triathlons. The benefits of canoeing for a runner are limited. The only real benefit is that it strengthens your core muscles.

Weight training

Regular weight training sessions will make you run faster and look better doing it.As a distance runner you don’t want to bulk up but rather develop strength endurance.This means using light weights, doing 12 to 20 reps of each exercise and doing the exercise 3 times.

Here are 2 basic workouts for runners

Lower body session

  • Warm up – 2/3 km jog or cycling
  • Stretching
  • Bent-leg sit-ups x 20 x 3
  • Leg extensions x 15 x 3
  • Leg curls x 15 x 3
  • Lunges x 15 x 3
  • Calf raises x 15 x 3
  • Stretching
  • Cool down – 5 min jog

Upper body session

  • Warm up – 2/3 km jog or cycling
  • Stretching
  • Bent-arm dumb-bell pullover x 15 x 3
  • Bench press x 15 x 3
  • Upright rowing x 15 x 3
  • Bicep curl x 15 x 3
  • Incline leg raises x 20 x 3
  • Stretching
  • Cool down – 5 min jog

Cross training is almost a must for runners, it reduces your potential risk of injury and is a break from your running schedule.

Everybody is different, so you will have to find what works for you, but if you can squeeze in a few training sessions a week it will benefit your running greatly.

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