Does Cross-Training Make You A Stronger Runner?

If you pick up a running magazine or read a running blog, you will eventually come across articles on cross training. Most of us know just how important cross training is, but sometimes it can be really difficult to fit it into our schedule. Yes, it’s important but can it really help improve our running? Well, I’m here because I just ran a great race and I attribute my results in large part to the cross training I’ve been doing over the past few months.

Ever since I ran two marathons in two weeks late last fall, I’ve been running easy. I have been upping my mileage in anticipation of last weekend’s Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, but didn’t incorporate any speed work or tempo runs in my workouts. I plan on starting to introduce speed work back into my routine once I begin marathon training this summer. I’ve enjoyed just getting out there a few times a week and running.

Related: Making The Time

I have also enjoyed increasing my cross training. I’ve been heading to Pure Barre for classes 3-5 times each week. As a result I am much stronger. My core, glutes, hips, back, and arms are all stronger and leaner. I was very curious how this would translate into my running, especially with the lack of speed work.

I ended up running the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler (which was actually a bit short, due to an accident on the course route before the race) at just about the same pace I ran my PR half marathon last fall. I was amazed that I was able to accomplish this having done virtually no speed work. I ran my PR half marathon after a summer full of tough speed work. This makes me so excited to see what I can do when I add in speed work AND keep up my cross training.

Related: Why You Should Be Cross-Training

 Do you have a cross training success story??