Non Running Workout Ideas

non running workout ideas

As runners, we can’t run all of the time. Sometimes it can be hard finding non workout running ideas. By doing new things, you can and will maintain fitness. As most people know by now, after the April Fools half marathon, I experienced a serious running burnout.  In fact, I wrote about it here. It wasn’t the race itself, but more of running hard for 6 months and not achieving a goal.

non workout ideas for runners

Don’t get me wrong, running is a great workout, but it’s not the only one.  It’s important to take the time to look at other things to do.

Right now, I have no goal races I’m trying to maintain fitness for.  I do not need to hit up the gym daily.  Do I like working out?  Yes.  Do I need to work out for several hours daily?  No.  Do I care if I missed a workout?  No…

Non-Running Workout Ideas for Cross Training:

Here are a few Non-Running Workout ideas I like to do to preserve cardio fitness:


I might be one of the only people who doesn’t hate the elliptical.  If you work out hard on the elliptical, it will simulate running.  If you leisurely pedal, you will not get the same benefits as having a higher heart rate.  There are a lot of programs that you can adjust based on ability and how hard you want to workout.  My heart rate is never as high as running, but I can say it has gotten pretty high during the elliptical.

Alter G Treadmill:

Finding an Alter G treadmill can be hard.  If you’re in Southern Jersey/Philadephia area and want to use one, let me know, and we have one at RunningCo.

Admittedly, I haven’t used it right now.  That’s only because I don’t want to run.  The AlterG is running without the pressure of body weight.  It takes bodyweight off so you can simulate running without putting the extra pressure and weight on your body.  The chamber fills with air, so you are essentially free-floating around. Here is a more in-depth post about the AlterG when I was using it!

Alter G
After my metatarsal stress fracture, I used it frequently.


Before picking up running in 2010, I was a competitive swimmer.  I swam through college.  While I no longer swim regularly (and have no interest in Tris), I will frequent the pool.  Instead of my primary activity, it’s now my non running workout idea activity! Swimming takes all of the pressure off your body, allowing for a great cardio and strength workout.  It’s one of the best workouts you can do.  I’ve written several posts about swimming, and you can read How Swimming Can Make You a Better Runner or Swimming for Runners.

Strength Work and Core:

To be honest, right now, this is what I’m enjoying the most.  I’m going to several body pump and core classes as well as lifting weights myself.  It may not “burn calories, but I am enjoying the constant state of feeling like jello and feeling stronger. Here are a few core activities I’m currently doing: Quick Core Ideas for Runners.

Running is a great sport, but it’s not the only workout.  There are plenty of other non-running workout ideas that are equally as fun to do. If you are interested in more running-related news, subscribe to my weekly newsletter

Questions for you:

What are your favorite nonrunning activities? What are some non-running workout ideas you have? 

 Do you like to cross-train? 


  1. Great suggestions! I have also increased my swim time as well as cycling. My new favorite machine is the treadclimber. I have seen these on television but they are not cheap, but now they have three at the Y, so I have had a chance to use one. Slowly getting back into running, but it’s going to take a lot longer than I had anticipated. It’s a good opportunity to try new things.

  2. I feel like strength work, especially BodyPump, burns a lot of calories. BodyPump has a cardio component, especially in certain releases (I do think this depends on the release because the releases in the last few years are definitely tougher than the releases 5 years ago).

    My personal favorite cross training is the Arc Trainer. I feel like an hour on it is actually harder than an hour of easy running. It’s also great for your calves, hamstrings, and glutes!

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