Training Top 5 Cross Training Sports for Runners

Top 5 Cross Training Sports for Runners


Change is a good thing in the long (and short) run. Here are five ways with cross training that will help you switch up your running routine plus give you a lift, mind body and spirit.

By Pamela Mazzuca Prebeg BSc. Kine

Lots of runners have a hard time wrapping their brain around cross training. They either don’t know what to do or they don’t see the value in it. While it’s true that running regular long, slow runs will improve your endurance and speed drills will increase your speed, not all training must be specific. There are benefits to be gained by switching things up, both physically and mentally. So next time you have an rest day from your running program why not give one of these five activities a try.


Hitting the pool once or twice a week is a great way to take a load off your joints, as it’s completely non-impact. It also adds an element of upper body and core work while still getting your heart pumping. Swimming is also ideal for keeping up your endurance while recovering from an injury.


A good number of runners neglect stretching after they run; life is busy. But keeping your body pliable can help prevent injuries. Yoga is a great way to improve your flexibility on your rest days, while also conditioning your muscles and relaxing and focusing your mind.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Want a good stability workout? Give stand up paddle (SUP) boarding a try. Keeping your balance on a SUP board, especially when the water is a little rough, is a great way to work all the intrinsic muscles in your body particularly your feet and legs. And as an added bonus it also really works your core and upper body, especially your lats.


Similar to running, biking uses your legs and is a good cardio workout. However, unlike running, it is low impact, which gives your joints a bit of a break on your rest days. This is also a good substitute while recovering from injury.

Resistance Training

Resistance training is a great cross training workout because it improves your oxygen capacity, improves body composition and strength, and increases bone density. It also gives you the opportunity to correct any muscle imbalances and to work your upper body.