What Cross-Training Should I Be Doing As a Runner?

There are many opinions on this matter out there in the physical fitness community. But there is one aspect that is crucial in running or physical fitness as a whole. And that is the “core”. Its very definition is synonymous with “essential” and “foundation”. It has been scientifically proven that if you want to run more efficiently, gain better mobility or lift more then you need to work out and develop the core.

Not only am I a long-distance runner, but I am also certified (Tier 1) in Crossfit. I utilize the pull-up bars, boxes and kettle-bells quite a bit. I will present 2 options for a core workout: with the use of a gym and equipment and without. That’s the versatility of these workouts. You do not have to possess a gym membership to work out your core.

First, let’s explore a core workout using a gym and equipment. Find the pull-up bar in your gym (usually above the cable-crossovers). Hang from the pull-up bar and perform the KTE (knees to elbows). Simply bring your knees up until they touch your elbows. If that’s too easy for you, then do the TTB (toes to bar). Just like it sounds. Keeping your legs straight, raise your toes up skyward until they touch the bar. Do 5-10 reps. Next, find a medicine ball and sit on the ground. Bend your knees to a 45 degree angle. Grab the medicine ball and start on your left side. Rotate your hips until you swing around to the right side and touch the medicine ball to the ground next to you. Then to the opposite direction, twisting until you touch the ball on the left side next to you. Each touch counts as 1 rep. Do 40-50 reps. Next, find a kettle-bell. Stand with it hanging between your legs and slightly bend your knees. Swing the kettle-bell forward until it reaches eye level. This is done by forcing your hips to lock out and by straightening your legs. Do 30 reps. Lastly, find an ab wheel. Kneel on the ground and place the ab wheel in front of you. Roll out the wheel to a full body extension and then roll it back to the starting position. Do 10 reps. This full exercise is composed of 6 sets.

Second, let’s talk about the core workout you can do anywhere. I call it “Abs of Fire”. Lay on the floor, flat on your back. Place your hands on your chest. Raise your feet off of the ground about 6 inches. Alternate raising each leg up about 6 inches more and then back down. Each leg raise counts as 1 rep. Do 100 reps. It’s called the flutter-kick. Next, sit on the floor and bend your knees at a 45 degree angle. Twist to your left and touch the ground then twist to your right and touch the ground. Each twist counts as 1 rep. Do 50 reps. Next, get into the plank position. You should look like you’re getting ready to do a push-up but your forearms are supporting your body. Alternate between left and right hands and touch your left, then right hip. Each touch is 1 rep. Do 20 reps. This exercise is composed of 6 sets.