Maximise your impact

How do you maximise your cross-training workouts to have a positive impact on your endurance.

The basic principles of training muscles for endurance is low weights for high reps, but how does this translate into workouts that compliment and boost your running?

The key is to hit the main muscles systematically and overload them without overwhelming them. Once again that 10% rule can come into play here but A WORD OF WARNING. I recommend choosing one of the three areas of endurance that you’d like to attack. So either increase ToF (Time on Feet) OR increase your distance OR fire up your muscles to do more for longer.

If you try to do two or more of these at the same time you run the risk of injury and setting yourself back weeks and week in your training.


What suits you best?

Lets look at how you can support your distance or ToF targets through cross-training. Something like yoga, pilates or swimming are excellent as you get a full body workout that is COMPLETELY different to running. Swimming has the added bonus of it being non-weight bearing.

You can still do endurance-type exercises in your cross-training BUT make sure to not push yourself too hard. Compound exercises (that hit more than one muscle at a time) are more beneficial than isolated ones (just one muscle) and can be less time consuming. Gym goers might do leg press, bench press, Barbell squat and press. Home workout people squat and press with full water bottles, squat jumps, stair runs, press-ups – you get the idea.

Ideally for endurance, as opposed to strength you want to have high reps and low weights. So this is where something like the box squat (slowly lower down onto a box/bench with your arms crossed in front of you, then sit gently back until your back is straight, and back up again) comes in handy. This – done SLOW and STEADY, concentrating on your form – really helps to fire up glutes, hams, quads and calves. I recommend doing at least 20 reps for up to 4 sets with 30 secs rest in between.

There’s a ton of articles about the kinds of endurance exercises you can do that don’t involve running. These include weight lifting, plyometrics (jumping, dynamic movements) and combining strength and cardio together. Do you have weights at home? Mix it up by doing 4x stair runs and while your heart rate is coming down you could do squats, squats with press, pull-ups or push ups. Then repeat.

Keep it varied – yes mix it up!

You don’t want your body to ‘get used’ to it! Doing the same tired routine the gym instructor gave you at induction 4 years ago WON’T HELP YOU!!

And my favourite – choose a trail with benches. Run it and at each bench DO SOMETHING it doesn’t matter what! Press-ups, toe taps, squats, squat jumps, dynamic lunges, high step ups, tricep dips. If it makes those muscles burn GREAT!

Just a couple of things for you to think about there.