For athletes who want to improve their running performance, but can’t handle logging more miles on the road, McCrann recommends what he calls performance cross-training — a workout that replicates running. “While cross-training is great to build general fitness, improving running performance requires more running,” says McCrann. “Depending on your goals and the distance of your race, you can opt to either replace entire workouts with performance cross-training or supplement your existing running schedule with additional training opportunities.”
Before you embark on performance cross-training regimen, however, remember that more isn’t always better. If you’re experiencing a running plateau, it could be that your body is simply fatigued and needs more rest, not more training. “Make sure you know your current level of fitness so that you can benchmark this new training to see if it truly is having an impact,” says McCrann.
Ready to start? McCrann recommends pool running, which is just what it sounds like: running in the deep end of a pool. You still get the benefits of consistent running motions, but without the impact of hitting the pavement. To ensure better form, consider using a AquaJoggerBelt, which supports your lower back and encourages you to engage your abs to maintain good posture. “The goal here is high cadence, just like running. Be sure to avoid any exaggerated motions such as hyperextending your legs,” says McCrann.
Sample Pool Running Workout: 30 mins.
Warm-up: 5 mins. of building effort, from easy to steady
Main Set: 4 sets of 5-min. continuous intervals. Each 5-min. interval is divided thusly:
- 2 mins. of steady effort, at a sustained pace
- 2 mins. at a faster pace, pumping the knees and arms underwater
- 1 min. of easy recovery
Cool Down: 5 min. of easy effort
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