Photo Credit: Popsugar

The most fundamental way of improving your running is to run more. Yet consistently subjecting your legs to such high impact is going to make you more prone to injury. That’s why it’s so important for us runners to cross-train. Elite runners do aqua running or antigravity running – which you can too, if you’ve $25,000 to spare. What other cross-training workout can you do? Here, we give you a rundown of the top 3 winning cross-training ideas for runners.

#1 Swimming

A huge plus would be that swimming challenges your aerobic endurance nearly as much as running does. What’s more is that you can get creative with swim workouts. If you’re looking to work your legs more, you can throw in breaststroke or freestyle. If you want to give your legs a break, you can do some butterfly rows and leave the legs out of the equation. Paul Hartmann, a physical therapist in New York City, assures that swimming also challenges you to control your core.

#2 Martial Arts

Photo Credit: Livestrong
Photo Credit: Livestrong

You don’t need to become a One Championship fighter. The benefits that martial arts or even cardio kickboxing can offer are aerobic endurance, balance and flexibility – often neglected aspects of a runner’s fitness. Tight hip flexors and restricted ankle flexion can all contribute to the muscle imbalances. Learning how to open up your hips and balance on your toes with a high Muay Thai kick, or drawing energy from your core with Chi running would be good complements to your run training program.

#3 Bodyweight exercises

Photo Credit: Bodybuilding
Photo Credit: Bodybuilding

Strength training is probably the last thing on our minds. In fact, we might worry that being bulky would even worsen our run performance. However, working on your strength can help stabilize joints, improve endurance (depending on how you train) and preserve lean body mass. To prevent injury from increasing your weights too quickly and for active recovery days, you could consider bodyweight exercises. You lift your bodyweight every step you run and you also do so in your day to day lives. It’s a lot more functional and a lot safer for runners to start with. Yet you can reap the benefits of strength training!


The thing about cross-training (or any other exercises) is that you must love doing it. If your favorites are not on this list, feel free to still go ahead with them. Share them with us as well so that we can add cross-training ideas to our own list.

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