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Cross Training For Runners

April 20, 2012

Happy (real) Friday everyone!! While my brain is recuperating from memo writing, I have a great guest post for you from Taylor, who blogs at Lifting Revolution! She is a nutrition consultant, personal trainer and runs a boot camp in Charleston, SC!

Time To Run Yourself Into The Weight Room:
A Runners Guide To Cross Training With Dumbbells

Hi-di-ho Peace Love and Oat’s gang! I want to give Katie a big thanks for allowing me to share my passion and hopefully some awesome info today! When Katie expressed her love for South  Carolina a few weeks back, I knew I had to send her a friendly “hello! from Charleston!”

And from that hello, came this post!

Back in the day, before I knew better, I turned to running to drop my “Freshman 15 30” weight. I assumed running was the best and fastest way to make it happen, right?

So I would run like Forest Gump.. everyday I was running. And that was all I was doing (along with cutting calories). Yup, I lost the weight but I lost a lot more too. I ended up with a stress fracture in my shin, tendonitis in my hips, and my herniated disc shouted at me daily, plus I wasn’t toned at all!

I was miserable and knew something had to change.

Out of all the ways to exercise, runners are the mostly likely to show up in the doctors office with exercise induced injuries… why?

Because it puts a lot of freaking stress on the body! In fact, 5 to 7 times your weight is supported on your knees when running. That means if you weight 130 pounds, there’s up to 910 pounds of stress on those bad boys.

Exhausted sweaty young woman

Is that to say that running is bad for you?

Nope, it just means that cross training is that much more important for runners. Since weight lifting has become a huge part of my life, all those issues have since disappeared! And yes, I blame it 100% on my cross training.

Let’s dive into this a bit deeper in order to help you and Katie improve your running, your body, and easily get amazing PRs!

1. Muscle burns more calories. If you’re trying to lose weight, strength training is going
to work hand in hand with your cardio workouts to make it happen much faster.
Muscle tissue is very metabolically active, the more you have, the more calories you
will burn each day just sitting around! Plus, strength training has an amazing post-
exercise calorie burn, continuing to burn calories up to 48 hours after the workout is
all said and done.

2. Run faster, run longer, run better. Become a better athlete all together by adding
some cross training into your life. A 2008 study published in The Journal of Strength
and Conditioning Research confirmed that runners who added in three days of weight training to their weekly program not only increased their leg strength and muscle
mass but improved their endurance as well!

3. Faster Recovery. Strength training teaches your body to recover from workouts faster,
which means you might be able to log in a few extra miles each week. That could
make a huge difference in your overall training and confidence, right?

4. Less likely to get hurt. Of course, I would come back to this. By doing big complex
moves (squats, lunges, deadlifts, etc) you will strengthen your joints which can be
effected by running. Your knees, back, hips, and even ankles can feel so much better
on your runs. Don’t just turn your attention to lower body though, remember for a
balanced workout to also tone your core and upper body.

Woman with weight training equipment on sport gym

Strength training is just one workout routine option of cross training for a runner. Others include doing sprints, intervals, even swimming. By working your body in other ways than just your standard runs you’re going to become an overall better athlete and those PRs will roll in faster than ever.

Fit Asian woman

Plus isn’t it nice to change things up from time to time? Experiment a little with your workouts, push yourself in new ways, and discover just what your body can accomplish?

Awesome! Okay, now I am off to mix up a batch of vegan oatmeal cookies to help fuel up my next workout! Have a great day.

Taylor Ryan is a NASM certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. She currently
lives in Charleston, SC with her husband where she runs a successful womenʼs boot
camp as well as the online fitness community
. Check out her blog, The Lifting Revolution

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2012 8:20 am

    Great guest post!! and such a great reminder that weight lifting is an important compoent of your workout! I was definitely guilty of being a cardio addict in college! I’d spend 60min on the elliptical, and that’s it! I’m definitely a lot stronger now that I’ve added weights in 🙂

    • April 20, 2012 9:44 am

      I used to only do cardio too until I tried working out with a personal trainer, now I love weight lifting!

    • fitphilanthropist permalink
      April 20, 2012 11:50 am

      I was also a big cardio enthusiast in college. Even when I was training for a half marathon my junior year I all but cut out my strength training from my schedule. Now I’m much stronger, and much more prepared!

    • April 20, 2012 12:23 pm

      Awesome! It’s amazing how great it feels being stronger too! I love that I don’t ask my husband to help me move things or take lids off!

  2. April 20, 2012 8:39 am

    Great guest post! I’ve actually just started getting into weight training. My boyfriend is helping me build a plan to make me a stronger runner overall.

    • April 20, 2012 9:44 am

      I LOVE weight training! I never did it before but it’s fun and makes you feel great!

    • April 20, 2012 12:24 pm

      That’s how I got into it as well! My bf (now husband) convinced me to try it and it ended up paving my future! Lol! Now, I help him design his workouts!

  3. April 20, 2012 9:13 am

    Yay for cross training. Good message, great guest post! I need to rededicate to getting in the weight room. 🙂

  4. April 20, 2012 11:38 am

    SOOO true!! Love this post. Weight training RULES 🙂

  5. April 20, 2012 11:52 am

    I’m so excited to see so many women embracing weight training! It used to scare me that I’d “bulk up” if I did weights. Now I know that’s not the case. I love how this guest post lists so many varied examples of how weights training can benefit you. Thanks!

    • April 20, 2012 12:24 pm

      Thanks! That’s the one take home message I try to share with all my clients and women, that lifting weight doesn’t lead to bulk, it leads to health and strength and confidence!

      • Alexis permalink
        April 21, 2012 3:23 pm

        Absolutely. Cross training is awesome. Ive been taking the DI Boot Camp so I get my cross training in that way but I need to start incorporating weights into my routine, outside of what we do in class! Great article!

  6. April 20, 2012 3:08 pm

    This is such a great post! I take a couple of strength classes a week but I’d love to step up my weights.

  7. April 20, 2012 4:57 pm

    This is awesome! I’ve been trying to incorporate more strength training into my workouts! I used to do a lot, but have recently stopped and I miss that strong feeling!

  8. April 20, 2012 7:51 pm

    I can so relate to this! For YEARS, the only type of exercise I did was running. It wasn’t until I started incorporating strength training and other exercises that I got faster and felt better overall!

    • April 21, 2012 12:14 pm

      Me too! It all started for me when I went to jazzercise, although that was pretty light weights!

  9. May 1, 2012 8:11 am

    Great information! I guess I always recognized these things but never really wanted to put it into action. Thanks for reminding all of the runners out there, we need to CROSS TRAIN!! Our bodies need it so we can keep doing what we really love… RUNNING!

  10. Cate permalink
    May 5, 2012 5:17 pm

    Great guest post! Yay for cross training! I love to run, but cross training gives me an opportunity to try different activities and exercises.

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