Most exercise becomes boring for athletes who do the same routine every week. Humans are naturally stimulated by variety and tend to get bored very easily. Cross training is a great way to avoid boredom and increase motivation. An increase in motivation helps runners train harder, which makes them run faster and perform better during races.
Even runners who love running are unlikely to be passionate about every workout. Cross training allows for the variety that makes the training process fun. A runner who doesn’t feel like running that day may choose to do another activity such as cross country skiing or mountain biking. These activities help to train the body in different ways than running, benefiting the athlete’s mind as well as body.
Faster Running Speed
Cross-training is a great way for runners to increase their running speed. Performing exercises other than running are great for increasing the athletic power of the body as well as the runner’s endurance, helping them run faster for a longer period of time. Almost every muscle in the body gets a workout during running, but the muscles are worked differently when skiing, biking, swimming and performing other exercises. Strengthening the muscles in different ways allows them to perform better during a race, resulting in faster running speeds as well as increased endurance.
New runners can increase their endurance by cross-training because this type of exercise reduces the impact on the joints and muscles of the body. Overuse injuries are common among new runners, especially ones that are training for their first major race. People who have been running for years also benefit from increased endurance. Many runners suffer from a loss of cartilage in their knees, which forces them to stop running at a young age. Cross-training allows these runners to exercise while minimizing cartilage loss by incorporating swimming, weight lifting and other exercises into their routine.
Cross-Training Benefits Work Together
All of the benefits of cross-training work together to help the body become more toned, stronger and less prone to injury. Performance is increased through cross-training because athletes don’t overuse their muscles and strain them. This allows the athlete to train consistently and not be held back due to injury or be unprepared due to skipped workouts. Working the muscles in different ways is challenging for the body as well as the mind. Runners who are bored with their workouts tend to either skip working out altogether or perform their routine halfheartedly, both of which do little to increase their performance or speed. Consistent training is the best way to increase performance on race day, and cross-training workouts build the endurance that is necessary for runners to perform well in marathons and other distance races.
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