Runners tend to stick to running while yogis keep to yoga, and the list goes on. Sound familiar? However, the importance of cross training has become much more evident. Cross training has been shown to benefit runners and other athletes. So not only should you feel free to mix and match your training, it is actually encouraged.

What is the Importance of Cross Training?

Cross training is great because it can really enhance your running performance. So by taking the time to do some other exercises, you will actually be bettering your running. Also, it will mix things up to keep your workouts new—because if you’re excited by your workouts, then you will be more likely to stick to it—and we all know consistency is key!

So how exactly should you approach cross training as a runner? Well, it’s best to choose an activity that uses the same muscles and movements as you would in running. This way, running will still remain as your main priority and you’re still working to improve it as the training crosses over and is still related.

Now that you know the importance of cross training, here are some workouts that you should include in your training that will help get you started.

Different Types of Training Runners Should Do

Strength training

Strength training is one of the best things that you can do as a runner. By incorporating strength training, especially in the lower body, you will work on building muscles in the legs to improve power, endurance, and stamina. Doing so will mean that you will be able to run faster and for longer without fatiguing as early. Sounds like every runner’s dream, right?!

Not only that, but it will assist in preventing injury. Heard or experienced the dreaded Runner’s Knee? By working on your leg and hip muscles, you can strengthen these areas to decrease the risk of injury.

But don’t just focus on your lower body. While legs are the most obvious, other body parts actually play an important role in your running. So by training your entire body, you will really enhance your performance in different ways. For example, focusing on your core will mean that you will be able to maintain proper posture throughout your run.

To help get you started, Zen Labs Fitness has a new iOS 5×5 workout app! With the intention of helping you build strength following the 5×5 rule, it focuses on compound movements like the bench, deadlift and squat. All you need to do is download to get started now so you can become a stronger and better runner!


It seems odd to think that swimming can help with running but it can. Like running, swimming is great cardio work that uses your entire body, but on a low-impact scale. When your knees and feet are feeling bad, give yourself a break jumping into the pool or beach for a workout. It’s a great alternative that can prevent injuries or help with rehabilitation.


Yoga is a really great activity to do on a regular basis. You will improve your flexibility and balance while simultaneously conditioning your entire body.

Many people turn to yoga also, as a way to prevent injury or recover from them. It is a low-impact workout that will help balance out the body. And let’s not forget about the breathing technique benefits. Because yoga focuses on the breath, you can apply these breathing techniques to your running so you can get the oxygen flowing more efficiently.

Don’t be afraid to put yoga on your training schedule, even if you’re not flexible. In fact, being inflexible is the perfect reason to start!


Want to improve your overall fitness as an athlete? Then do HIIT. This high-intensity interval training means that you will jump, burpee, and lunge your way to better endurance and fitness. It’s explosive, so you don’t need to do HIIT for long to see results. Even just 7 minutes is enough to get your heart rate racing and your blood pumping.

Start Cross Training with Zen Labs Fitness

Now that you know the importance of cross training for runners, what other activities are you going to try? Zen Labs Fitness doesn’t just offer running apps. We also have apps that can help improve your HIIT in just 7 minutes, that can get you to 100 push ups, and 200 situps and squats. Not to mention, we have an amazing online community that can keep you motivated and on track to your fitness goals.

Do you believe in the importance of cross training? How have you found it has improved your running? Share your experiences in the comments below; we would love to know!