Cross-Training & Running: Get Faster, Leaner, And More Flexible

Hi there, beauties!

It’s a HUMP day! And isn’t it a good enough reason to be all happy and excited? Well… It is for ME, despite a super charged day that lays ahead of me at work! Life is too short to complain anyway, so as well I can smile instead. *Hehe!*

life is too short


As you know, I’ve been trying to switch up my routine lately to bring in more newness and excitement. Yesterday was the first day of the 30-day EMPOWER challenge from Yoga by Adriene. I’m loving it! She is sooo good and fun. I also love her simplicity: Adriene’s moto is “Find What Feels Good”. I couldn’t agree more!

find what feels good

*As you can see, Bella is on the same page too! LOL!*

Additionally, I started reading Run or Die by Kilian Jornet, a book gifted to me by my lovely fellow Canadian blogger-friend Ursula. If you still haven’t had a chance to ‘meet’ her, you should definitely stop what you’re doing right and head over to her super adorable blog called Northern Ambitions.

Run or Die

Anyhow, back to the book… It’s written so beautifully, I am really impressed. Don’t take it in any wrong way, but sometimes it sounds like an addict speaking about his greatest addiction *which, after all, IS true*. That being said, Jornet’s excitement and ambition is extremely contageous: All I want to do is to get changed and go for a super long hardcore run until I can’t feel my legs anymore. Yes, the book is THAT powerful! *Haha!*



Do you see how all these things seem to happen when I needed the the most? You’d be surprised but I’ve got more.
I was reading the most recent issue of Runner’s World magazine and came across a very interesting article in MIND + BODY section. The writer, Ted Spiker, suggests that by switching up your running routine with some proper cross-training, you can get faster, leaner and more flexible. Care to know more? Here are some highlights:

To train hard: Try pool running.

pool running


HOW: ‘Wear a pool belt to help you keep afloat and vertical in the deep end of the pool. Simply run using the same motion you do on the road, maintaining a good posture while pumping your arms, and keeping a high cadence. Trying to take slow strides in the water could cause you to overextend your legs, which could irritate your hamstrings. Aim to do once a week from 45 minutes to an hour. You can pool-run at a steady pace, or try short sprints (go fast for 15 to 30 seconds, recover, repeat) and long sprints (go at moderate intensity for 5 to 10 minutes, recover, repeat).’

To Nail a PR: Try weights.

weight training


HOW: ‘If you are new to resistance training, start with a light weight, one that allows you to do about 12 reps of your chosen exercise comfortably. Gradually increase the weight and reduce reps over time (while always maintaining good form). Your ultimate goal is to pick a weight that makes it a challenge to eke out six reps. For a runner-friendly routine, see’

To finish strong: Try rowing.



HOW: ‘Will Kirousis, the codirector of Tri-Hard Endurance Sports Coaching and a USA Triathlon-certified coach and strength specialist in Leominster, Massachusetts, recommends the following workout for runners. Rowing intervals: 5-minute warm-up, going from easy to moderate effort; 8 minutes of alternating 20 seconds at very intense effort and then 10 seconds at easy effort; 2 minutes easy effort. Do that 8-minute set two more times; finish with a 5-minute cool-down.’

To prep for a hilly race: Try cycling.



HOW: ‘To get the most out of an outdoor cycling workout, try to find rolling terrain where you can power up incline, pedal fast when it flattens, and then charge up another incline. Colavecchio says that a Spin class or stationary bike is also a good option, since it allows you to better control your workout – and not coast downhills too much. Create your own ride: After a warm-up, do 6 sets of 3 minutes at hard resistance with 1 minute of light resistance in between. Finish with 2 minutes of a fast pace at medium resistance to simulate the end of a race, when your legs are fried but you need to finish strong.’

To get flexible: Try yoga.



HOW: ‘Find a style that’s appropriate for your level of experience and works well with your training schedule. During a period of demanding running, opt for a more relaxing yoga practice, like hatha, Rountree says. But in an off-season when your mileage is less intense, you could do a more challenging session, like Ashtanga. You can also find yoga-for-runners routines at’

why you started


What are your thoughts? How do you include cross-training in your routine?



Filed under Cardio, Cross-training, Fitness, Health

14 responses to “Cross-Training & Running: Get Faster, Leaner, And More Flexible

  1. I’m all about yoga and spin, and also just about walking–you use slightly different muscles, but you continue to strengthen and stretch out the muscles in your feet and ankles, which help you to avoid injury! Spinning is great because it focuses on other muscles complementary to running when you are in the saddle, and running muscles when you pop out of the saddle. Rowing is just great all around, and really strengthens your core and back, which gives you better posture and more stability when running.
    I suck at water jogging. I have a belt, but I can’t get the movement down exactly right!

  2. Great post Olena! Lots of helpful advice here! I did an article on pool running once, it is incredibly effective, especially if you are injured. I need to include more cross training into my running routine, but I am considering an eliptigo for that. Glad you are enjoying that book so much, I am interested to find it. I hadn’t heard of it!

  3. absgoldberg

    Nice post! I’ve got my main love which is weight training but I do try to cross train with other exercise activities. I was actually thinking about doing some rowing once I get back to school.

  4. I really want to try pool running. I do yoga 2x a week, lift, and strength train in addition to run, I think all the cross training definitely helps me as a runner. I have seen a lot of gains in the last few months because of it!

  5. Love the idea of identifying which goal you have and then doing a certain cross training activity! I’m happy to say that I’ve done all of these exercises at one time or another, if only I still had access to them all I could become a super athlete! 😉

  6. These are all great suggestions for cross training! I do Body Pump classes for strength training, swimming and cycling. I’ve never done pool running though. That looks pretty cool.

  7. Great tips! I may have to bookmark this and come back a lot! I need to do more yoga, stretching and some strength training.

  8. I’m a big proponent of cross-training! I actually do CrossFit so I feel like there is a lot of cross-training built in, but I also try to incorporate running/sprints and am looking to add yoga in as well. Great post!

  9. I love spinning, lifting (light weights), and rowing! I should incorporate more yoga into my routine but I just haven’t fallen in love with it yet. I need to read Run or Die, it sounds so good!

  10. This was my fave article in this month’s RW! All such great suggestions. I’d love to try pool running, but have no access to a pool. Currently my biggest cross trainers are biking, yoga, and HIIT body weight workouts.

  11. At one time I was perfectly happy to just run but then I learned to be a better runner I needed to cross train. Fast forward a few years and I enjoy yoga, kickboxing and strength training almost as much as running. My body appreciates the balance 🙂

  12. Love it all! I just wish those ladies on the bikes worked out in my gym 😉 I cross train as much as possible – yoga, weights, trails, bike, soccer, swim, etc. So important!!!!

  13. Pingback: Everybody Wants To Be A Winner, But What Does It Mean ‘To Win’? | candies & crunches

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