Running and "All the things": What is Cross Training, Strength Training, and Mobility for Runners?

Running is supposed to be easy, right?

Ok, ok you're shaking your head "No, Marie! It's anything but easy!"

Stick with me a moment.

Running IS supposed to be easy.

And by that I mean, intuitive.

You just get up and GO!

You don't have to keep your eye on the ball. You don't have to aim at a target.

You just run.

See? Easy!

"But Marie! If running is so easy, then why is it sooo complicated? Because all the running gurus out there say you need all these different types of runs (long runs, tempo runs, recovery runs…), and you need to strength train, and don't forget mobility work! And Becky down the road says yoga is good for runners. But I actually really like biking…"

I hear you.

Loud and clear.

And frankly, looking at that list, I'm getting overwhelmed! That's a lot of "stuff". And that's what it can become: just "stuff" on your to-do list. That's when you miss out on the joy of running, and movement, and exercise.

So a question for you.

Do you know WHY you need all that "stuff"?

Do you know what that "stuff" looks like?

Because if you're missing those important pieces of the puzzle, "all the things" will always be overwhelming. And you'll always feel behind.

So let's dive into "all the things" and see if we can clear them up. I want you to finish this blog with clarity on WHY you need strength training, cross training, and mobility and all the different ways that can look.

You ready?

Let's start with strength training.

Notice I didn't say cross training….

Strength training can be A FORM OF cross training. Here me out…

The purpose of strength training is obvious, right?

To get stronger.

To directly target muscle groups that are weaker on one side compared to other.

To equal out strength imbalances (we all have them).

And when we strength train, we move differently than running, right? Simply said, strength training is NOT running. It's as simple as that.

So next part, what does strength training look like?

Typically we think of lifting weights, such as squatting, deadlifting, bench, rows. But body weight exercises can be a form of strength training too, including pushups, air squats, step ups or deficit step downs, planks. These types of body weight exercises are commonly found in popular HIIT workouts (although there's a sneaky aerobic component to that type of workout…but that's another topic for another day).

Body weight exercises can also be performed during yoga, specifically in a type of yoga called power yoga.

But do you see how strength training has easily evolved into at least 3 different versions? Traditional weight lifting, body weight exercises, and various types of yoga!

I'm describing all of these to say, "pick your form of strength training."

Pick what works best for you and more importantly, what you enjoy doing! You might love power yoga more than going to the gym and wrestling with a barbell. That's fine! When it's strength training day on your calendar, pick the option that's best for you. However, it's not an excuse to turn a blind eye to when yoga or body weight exercises alone just aren't enough. It's important to at least be aware of different options of strength training so in case weaknesses pop up or injury occurs, you have the knowledge, power, and resources to help figure out what might be missing from your routine.