As beginning runners (or any runners for that matter!), we often tend to stick to the one thing we know: Running.
And at Ordinary Runner (http://www.ordinaryrunner.com/) we certainly believe EVERYONE should be a runner!
However, running does give us quite a pounding on our legs! Our joints and muscles are repeatedly shocked throughout the course of a run… And the more intense the run, the more pounding they take!
Cross training a day or two a week can work wonders!
What is cross training, you ask?
It basically means that you “cross over” for a day into another aerobic exercise area, instead of only running, in order to help prevent injury. (Or to recover after an injury!)
Don’t get me wrong! Running, as we’ve stated before, is NUMERO UNO as far as aerobic exercises go! Nothing gets your heart rate going like a good run!
But running does give you a good pounding!
So lots and lots of runners take a day or two a week and cross train.
For cross training, you want to do another activity that elevates your heart rate, but doesn’t pound you quite as much as running.
This gives your muscles and joints a rest, while keeping your heart going!
Cross training has some great benefits:
1) Gives joints, bones, and muscles a much needed rest, making them fresher for your next run.
2) Still increases your heart rate, so you still get a good aerobic workout even on the days you don’t run.
3) Breaks the routine. (I mean, we love running, but sometimes it’s just nice to do something else!)
So, what kinds of cross training are there?
There’s riding a bike… But cycling can be expensive!
There are treadmills and elliptical machines at the gym… But the gym can be expensive, too, and one of the reasons we are runners is because we like the price!
My recommended cross training activity is water running. It does take a one-time investment in an aqua jogger shoes or gloves (around $15-20) or an aqua jogging vest or belt (a $45-55 cost), but after that, you’re good to go!
Just get in the deep water at your nearest pool, and run in the water. (It takes a little getting used to, but it’s really very simple. In no time, you’ll be water running with the best of ‘em!
The health benefit of water running is big!
When you do your water running, your heart rate still gets up there (so you get the aerobic benefit), but your muscles get a rest from the pounding for a day.
So it’s a perfect cross-training activity.
And just by doing water running, you’re helping yourself prevent injury!
And if you’re already injured (Let’s hope not! But occasionally it does happen!), water running is perfect for keeping your aerobic fitness up while your injury heals.
So, take some good advice on running for beginners! For all of you who love running and want to keep doing it for years…
… Water aerobic exercise, in the form of water running, is a great way to cross train and save your legs!
You’ll be saving some of the miles in your legs for another day!
Kely Braswell has been a runner for 27 years. He’s not the fastest… just an Ordinary Runner. But he stays in shape, and he knows a lot about running! Beginning runners can look at http://www.ordinaryrunner.com/, simple advice on running for beginners and mere mortals!