Tuesday Topics: Favorite cross training activities

I have to confess that when I started running about 5 years ago, I was really bad at cross training. Sure, I’d do a warm up before and stretching after each run (hey, which should count for something!), but as I was just finding my way into a new fitness routine, I didn’t really do anything else but run (unless you count the occasional time on the elliptical a cross training activity). 

But don’t you worry, I’ve gotten much better at cross training over the years. It definitely helps keeping me motivated (because it’s always good to switch things up), but I also think it’s a big reason why I’ve been (mostly) injury free. I’ve been trying to take advantage of my gym membership which gives me access to equipment and classes and I am usually there 3x per week.

I started going to yoga classes (although I have to admit that I haven’t been to a class in a while) and also do yoga workouts at home sometimes. There is just something about bending and stretching your body in a gentle fashion that definitely helps with flexibility and mobility of your body.

I also started (body) weight and strength training a couple of years ago (and I can definitely see how that has helped my running!). It’s so important to strengthen your core and hips to be a stronger runner. You’re much less likely to get injured due to weak joints/tendons that lead to poor running form.

I’ve been incorporating more core and balance training into my strength training exercises. (For short-term extra boosts of motivation, I’ve also joined the TMAC20 21-day challenges* before, which provide community support and very effective, daily 20-minute workouts that are easy to incorporate into your daily life).

And then, I very recently picked up cycling as a cross training activity and I can see that becoming a favorite. I’d been talking about taking a cycling  class for a while and I am so glad I finally got a taste when I went to a cycling class with my friend Tanja when I visited her in SoCal a week and a half ago. I think it’s safe to say that she most certainly got me hooked (now, if I could got to the cycling classes with her, that would be even better).

All this to say, cross training is fun, it’s important and it keeps me motivated. 

What is your favorite cross training activity?

I am linking up again with  Kookyrunner and Zenaida  for Tuesday Topics.

  1. Yoga, strength training and cycling are all of my faves and I strive to fit them in each week as well.

    1. That is awesome that you’re trying fit in different cross training activities into your busy week!

  2. These are all great cross training activities! My favorite is yoga and weight lifting. I haven’t done much of either in the last few months (my husband and I were weight lifting together and he’s nursing an elbow injury) but I have enjoyed it when I have been doing them regularly!

    1. Tell me more about weight lifting. Except for dumbbells and some resistance machines, I haven’t done any weight lifting.

  3. I miss being able to go to spin classes and body pump (my favorite strength training class at the Y). But getting to the gym has been way too hard since having a child so I make due with home workouts. I have a little gym set up in our basement. When it was still cold outside I was doing 4-5 workouts/week. Now I do more walks/runs outdoors. I think ideally I would like to do 3 walk/runs and 2 strength training workouts. But after a long, cold, snowy winter, I’ve been taking advantage of warmer weather and heading out for stroller walks with Paul.

    I also used to do yoga before I moved in with Phil as there was a great studio walking distance from my old apartment. I did either a traditional yoga class or their yoga sculpt which included cardio and strength training!

    Through the years I’ve learned how important strength training is for runners! I listened to a podcast about the topic awhile ago and they used a slinky as a metaphor for what strength training does for your body. The expert they spoke to say that strength training is like having a stiffer slinky – you get more spring/bounce from a stiffer slinky versus a looser one, if that makes sense? The expert talked about how much more powerfully you “spring off” each step while running when you have strong legs. And core strength helps prevent injuries, as you mentioned!

    1. That’s great that you have a little gym set up in your basement. I am sure classes are more fun, but at least you can fit in a workout when you can!

      I love the slinky metaphor. It’s so spot on!

  4. I haven’t done yoga in ages, but I also try and make it to the gym at least 2x a week. I know it’s not much but definitely better than nothing and I do some light stretches and things at home whenever I can. Also we have an exercise bike which has been super great on days when I don’t want to leave the house but I do need a workout!

  5. I’m so happy that I got you hooked and I would so love to have you in my class each time…..
    Love my little garage gym for some strength training and also like to try out new things – like the Versa Climber (not a fan due to it being sooo hard) and the Lagree, as you know.

    1. Man, I wish we could work out together more often. The motivation!! ;)

  6. I love yoga and strength training for cross training-but I also like cycling and water sports too! Running gives me the stamina to do all these things.

    1. Water sports are great cross training (but I hate swimming LOL)

  7. I really like doing yoga at home :)

    1. It’s a great workout you can fit in even if you have limited time!

  8. Love all of the different cross training activities you are doing!

  9. I really want to try yoga. I know I have access to some yoga workouts through Beach Body but I always skip over it and I’m not sure why. But I think some stretching would really help me a lot.

    1. You should give the yoga workouts a try. I know some people find them “boring”, but I actually enjoy the gentle balance and stretching exercises a lot.

  10. I’ve never been consistent with strength training but for cross training, I cycle (road bike) and do yoga. I recently joined a climbing gym by our new house so I’ve taken up bouldering as well. They also offer more challenging yoga classes and “fitness” classes which can be anything from strength, stability, or HIIT. One thing I’ve discovered about myself is that I need classes for anything outside of running and cycling because otherwise I won’t do it. And I can’t do treadmills and stationary bikes (I literally find myself yawning on them) so I just brave the elements outside.

    1. That totally makes sense to me that classes are more motivating for cross training activities!

  11. That’s awesome you cross train and focus on different areas of your body, and ways to exercise. I’m sure it has kept you pretty injury free. I’ve never taken a cycling class, but I want to try one someday!


    1. You should definitely give the cycling a try. I don’t now what took me so long!

  12. Hi San,
    I must admit I had been better about my cross training over the last year or two than I have been in recent months. You are so right in that it is so important to bringing balance to our running and helping us avoid injury. I definitely need to get back on track and took the first step just a few days ago when I joined a 30-day plank challenge. Today is Day 4 and so far I feel quite motivated by it and am enjoying participating in it.

    1. Uh-oh, a plank challenge. I have shied away from those so far … how is it going?? :) Thanks for stopping by and the kind comment.

  13. I love that you have a mix of different cross and strength training activities. I do a lot of the same activities but one thing I need to work more on is my core.

    1. Yay, I saw we like a lot of the same cross training activities. How did you get into boxing?

  14. I am a yoga girl through and through but have wanted to start cross training. I need to work on strength and cardio!

  15. These are all great cross-training activities. My personal favorites are yoga, strength training, and cycling. Especially strength training!

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