Last time, I talked about strength training but an athlete can not live on strength training alone! Conditioning (also known as Cross Training) is a great way to prevent injury, increase endurance and prevent training boredom. Depending on how long your training plan is, it could be a three to six month program. The longer the program, the more chances to get injured. No matter what you are training for, general fitness or a race, cross training can help so much. I actually started my “running career” through strength and cross training.
I love a good spin class, boot camp and TRX. They all give me something that running can not do alone. They help keep my legs fresh for runs, have kept me from being injured and works other muscles to keep from being imbalanced. All of those things work together to maintain endurance. Recently, I switched my training plan to include more and more various types of workouts. I have noticed a difference in my recovery times after long runs and the ability to go longer when I did.
Cross training and conditioning also allows you to explore your interest. Maybe you like Zumba, pushing your speed, or testing balance – you can use your cross training days to try something new out. Like any other activity, take it slow because there is no need to ruin your hardcore training days. Just like anything other part of training, use it to your advantage. Figure out where you need to get stronger and adjust accordingly. You have got this!