When I started running, all I wanted to do was run. It was difficult enough to find an extra hour per day to workout, so if I managed to find time, I thought it might as well be used doing something I love: running. Phooey with mind-numbing squats at the gym, swimming laps at the pool, or yoga poses that I couldn’t do much less pronounce. Those were a waste of time for me.
Fast forward to 2012. I signed up for a triathlon and found myself compelled to swim, bike, and take yoga for flexibility if only to save myself from embarrassment at Ironman 70.3 in Cebu. In the months that passed, cross training became a lifestyle for me. And, quite surprisingly, as much as I loved running, I woke up to each day eager to work out different parts of my body. It gave my tired feet a respite from all the pounding too! I found myself stronger, fitter, and, hey, happier! (The six-pack abs—I believe in my heart—is yet to come!)
So, here, I’ve compiled for you, dear runners, ten reasons why I think you should cross train. If you were like me before, a true running addict who obstinately refused to do anything but run, open your mind and take a few minutes to take this all in. After all, even if we cross train, it doesn’t mean we love running any less!
1) It works out other muscle groups not used in running, such as your upper body, quads, and inner thighs.
2) It improves your cardiovascular fitness.
4) It allows you to maintain your fitness level if you are already injured from running.
5) It will increase your chances of engaging in small talk with celebrity triathletes. Example: Ask Matteo Guidicelli while in transition: “So, do you wear your helmet or shoes first?”
– In this case, my line with Matteo was: “Lovely trails. You come here often?”
6) It will prevent you from overeating or indulging in junk food. Who wants to have a protruding belly in a bathing or tri suit?
7) It gives you new topics to discuss among running friends aside from the usual “So, when’s your next run?”
8) It provides variety for your Facebook or Instagram album. All your friends see are shots of you running plus that sickening Speculoos bottle all the time. (Sorry, I’m a solid Peanut Butter fan!) This time you can post shots of you biking, swimming, or doing a headstand.
9) It breaks the monotony from running and gives your mind and body something new to look forward to.
10) Best of all, it makes you a better runner. Swimming will make you more flexible and lengthen your running stride. Biking will strengthen your quads. Yoga will improve flexibility and stretch tight muscles from running.