10 Cross Training Ideas For Runners

Ok so you need a break from pounding the bitumin and pavements.

I hear you. Many a time I’ve been in the midst of a running training program and looking to mix up my cardio a bit.

Recently since I’ve moved up to Queensland, I’ve taken up more bush walking, swimming in the ocean, yoga and yesterday I did a hula hooping dance class which was so much fun.

So whether you want a break from your running, are injured, or just want to introduce a cardio workout which is less impactful on your body, then here are my top tips.

1. Swimming

By far the best all over non-weight bearing exercise. A great tip if you’re recovering from an injury, is to do water running. Basically this is running in deep water wearing a bouyancy belt. For a video on water running click here

2. Dancing

A great social cardio exercise that you can do on your own or with a partner. There are endless styles of dance from latin, salsa to disco. There’s sure to be a new style for you to sample, check out what’s going on in your town.

3. Bush Walking

Walking is a great low impact exercise that can be social if you do it in groups, and is great if you like discovering new countryside too.

4. Cycling

Along with swimming, cycling is probably the preferred cardio exercise for runners. Again it’s very versatile as you can join a gym and do a ‘spin’ class, or you can venture outside on the road or on the county trails if you have a mountain bike.

5. Hula Hoop Dancing 

I’ve rediscovered my youth with this one, as I experienced a 2 hr workshop yesterday and loved it. This is a perfect activity to improve your motor skills and body mind co-ordination. For some inspiration check out this clip here. 

6. Rollerblading

This is a fun outdoor activity popular in inner city parks and along esplanades.

7. Yoga

There are so many different yoga types from hatha to inyengar and bikram. Yoga helps to improve your flexibility and conditioning, which are both important for runners.

8. Pilates

Pilates helps to create a stronger, more flexible spine and core. This is essential for runners as posture is a critical element to successful running and staying injury free. It also helps to support and strengthen all the muscles in your torso, hips, shoulders and pelvis.

9. Zumba

This is a great all round cardio exercise as well as strengthening your hip stabilising muscles that are used for your running.

10. Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)

This is a perfect exercise for stability, balance and strength. It can be done on a lake, river or on the open water in waves. Rest assured, you’ll still be getting a good workout in your legs as you keep afloat.

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