Running is a high-impact activity and it can take its toll on your body. Thus the need for cross-training: low-impact activities that continue to strengthen the body and workout the cardiovascular system without pounding your joints. Cross-training also allows you to work on other muscle groups that might never be addressed with just running. This helps your overall conditioning and makes you a stronger runner.
On your cross-training days, you need to make sure you're making "good choices" for your cross-training activities. Even though your cross-training activities will be low-impact, you can still become injured. Know your limitations. For example, if it's three weeks before your marathon, you probably don't want to start using the stair master machine at the gym for the very first time, nor do you want to bench press that 300lbs for the very first time. Listed below are some typical cross-training activities.
Cross-Training Activities for Running:
• Cycling• Swimming
• Elliptical Trainer
• Deep Water Running
• Rowing Machine
• Rowing Machine
• Nordic Track Ski-Simulator
• Weight Training
Be sure to add a variety of cross-training activities to your training routine in order to obtain more balanced, overall conditioning. If you have two cross-training days a week in your training program, try to alternate upper body and lower body cross-training activities such as using the elliptical machine and the rowing machine. Or, include an activity such as yoga that may workout both the upper and lower body.
If you belong to a gym, consult with one of the fitness instructors and let them know your need for some cross-training activities to compliment your running program. They'll be able to help select the cross-training activities best suited for your needs.