The benefits of cross training in endurance sports.
We have evolved for natural movement outdoors; to run, jump, swim, climb and lift in order to travel great distances, escape danger and hunt. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles have caused us to favour comfort and minimum movement for an easier life which has had a detrimental effect on our health and wellbeing. Endurance sports help us develop our natural movement skills, functional fitness and overall wellbeing.
Here at Supernatural Fuel we are very fortunate to be located in nature’s backyard with some tremendous training ground in the form of Dartmoor and the south west coast on our doorstep. When we are not making and dispatching pouches to our awesome customers we like to train for ultra distance trail running challenges. More recently over the COVID pandemic we have explored more locally and experimented by cross training with other endurance sports and activities we can carry out locally. We have captured below what we think are the key benefits of cross training with endurance sports.
Change of Environment
Whether it’s the bracing cold water that stimulates the body and stretches out the joints and muscles during a sea swim; the lofty views and fresh air from climbing a Tor on Dartmoor or sea cliffs on the coast, or the exhilaration of speeding down a track on a mountain bike, it is very satisfying for the body and mind to experience the different elements and stimulations that other endurance sports bring.
Giving the legs and back a break from what is often high impact shock on the body during running can help prevent over training muscle groups and certain injury. Incorporating different movements that use different muscle groups help overused muscle groups recover and help build overall strength that supports running or whatever endurance sport you are engaged in.
We are all guilty of ignoring certain muscle groups in pursuit of developing those needed to increase performance for our preferred endurance sport. However, developing a more robust body with all round strength and endurance will benefit our main endurance sport. Paddle boarding, climbing and swimming are great examples of sports that can strengthen our core and are much more enjoyable than doing dozens of repetitions of sit ups!!
You can have too much of a good thing right! It can become incredibly mundane running or cycling the same routes and training with the same workouts over time. Engaging in different types of endurance challenges help to reset the focus, change the movements and environment and stimulate the senses again. Training becomes more enjoyable and improves our mindset, mood and overall motivation.
Added Social Interaction
A fundamental need of humans for their wellbeing is social interaction and the great thing about trying new things is that you meet new people. It has been an incredibly tough time for many people over the COVID pandemic which has required us to become more isolated and protective. Getting out again and connecting with more people doing different endurance sports helps to develop new relationships, get outdoors more and just enjoy other sports. It’s great for body and mind alike.
What would you try in order to improve your overall performance?
We concluded that exploring other endurance sports alongside our usual training regime had a very positive effect. The different environments stimulated our body and mind; exercising different muscle groups developed our core strength and upper body and added robustness. Our focus was reset and we felt more motivated during our training sessions. We met new ‘windswept and interesting’ people that expanded our network, connected with others and improved our knowledge about other endurance sports. Overall we’d highly recommend incorporating some cross training into your training programme. What new activities will you try?