Cross Training

As some of you may know, I enjoy cross-training. I could (and did) during most of my injuries cross-train like a champion and come back from EVERY INJURY as a stronger runner…it may have taken a few months, but I did indeed come back. In fact, after every injury, I’ve recovered appropriately and PRed!

That being said, I get asked a lot about cross-training machines I use and to be quite honest…I’m quite picky.  I don’t have time, energy or the patience to waste on machines I hate.  That being said, I will use other machines occasionally just because I like to be a wild card.

I wanted to talk about some of the random cross-training I do (when I’m not feeling lazy and while still running).  When I’m training, if I don’t cross-train, I will probably get injured.  My body needs to cross-train to work other muscles that running doesn’t work. I am injury prone, so cross-training helps keep me more healthy. 

Don’t forget; I’m not a doctor so you should always seek medical advice from a professional.

How Can I Stay on the Elliptical or Arc Trainer?

First, I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I have no secrets of how to stay on an elliptical or arc trainer. Arc trainers for running are the same. You don’t stop in the middle of a run 5 miles out; I don’t stop in the middle of an elliptical or arc trainer session.  Once my feet go on it…I stay on.

I watch tv, text, tweet…whatever.  Hell, I even tweet and text when I run easy on the treadmill…another reason I’m a fake runner, I suppose.

I know plenty of different articles can better explain to you why cross-training is important and why you should add a day or two of cross-training, so I’m not going to ramble too much.  I will tell you though, every time I cut out cross-training I seem to get some injury.   I don’t have time for cross-training, then I don’t have time to run…I don’t have time to get injured most important.

Some of the machines I enjoy to do my cross-training:

The Precor 100i for Runners: 


The Precor 100i for runners has been my go-to machine as of the last year.  The Precor 100i simulates anything from a biking motion to a stair-stepping motion and even a running motion.  (It takes a lot of practice to get the hang of the darn thing…believe me, the number of times I’ve fallen off).  I crank the Precor 100i up to the highest resistance (which in my gym is 20) and go.

I have never done intervals on the Precor 100i, but I know it’s possible. Honestly, if I could crank the machine up higher than I would…but sadly my gym doesn’t do that.  I could spend hours on this thing because it’s very low resistance and I feel like it is building up my quads enough so that they are strong enough to balance all my running.

The Arc Trainer for Runners: 

I remember this photo while simulating running arc trainer for runners

The Arc Trainer for running is another favorite of mine.  I’ve been using the Arc Trainer for runners since I first started working out in the gym around 9th or 10th grade. In fact, I’ve used the Arc Trainer far before running.

I’m most familiar with the Arc Trainer and they have several great programs to get your heart rate up.  I usually either do the cardio setting (you can adjust the level of resistance) or just manual at resistance 100.  Someone recommended the cardio setting on the Arc Trainer for runners and I’ve been hooked every since.

Resistance 100 creates havoc on your legs, and you will be sore the next day (so good havoc, I suppose). You will be stronger on race day, though. The Arc Trainer for runners is my favorite cardio cross-training.

Core work for Runners:

There are so many different ways to do core work.  You and I probably have a different favorite method.  Right now, my preferred method is the p90x Ab Ripper DVD or the Nike training club app for iPhone.  (The training club is free!).  I am not in a state of mind that I particularly want to sit in a gym and do medicine ball twists or whatnot…I have found doing these by myself, at my house is more effective…because I actually do them.

I believe that core work has gotten me through so many races.  I’m hoping it continues that way.   If I could do 15 minutes of core work and keep to PR…that would be nice.   I have a gym routine I do when I make it to the gym to do some work.

I could add something about swimming here…but I’m a lost cause with getting back into the pool.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

Do you cross-train?

Favorite gym machine?