Cross-training is sport that support the athlete’s main sport. For runners that usually mean swimming, water running, cycling, elliptical exercise, stepping or cross country skiing in winter time.
Running is high impact sport, which is consumptive for lower body’s bones, muscles, joints and tendons. For injured runners cross-training could offer the opportunity to exercise and it can also prevent injuries. Cross-training should be sport that use different muscles group than running, so muscles which are used while running can recover and while other supporting muscles working on and getting stronger.
As cross-training is used to replace the running exercise it’s needed to be aerobic exercise too. Runners can’t replace all their running exercise to cross-training, as they have to get used to impact too, otherwise the injury risk will increase when they take a part competition or run other longer distances. Cross-training exercise need to be effective too, you need to be feel that you are working out.
Choosing the right cross-training type depends also that are you recovering from training or injury. If you are injured, but capable to perform running movements without the impact, water running or elliptical exercise would be a great exercises, as they stimulate the same movement and use the same muscle groups. This prevent major lost of fitness level. If you are recovering the training and have only sore muscles and want to include cross-training to your training, cycling would be a good option. Cycling develop muscles that might help build better running form, for example quadriceps, hips and gluteus medius, all these are important supporter, but running itself doesn’t effectively work on them.