Mar. 11, 2022

The Power of Cross Training

Today's post is about the importance of cross training and how it can help you be a better runner and prevent injuries. I had been plagued with injuries ever since becoming a runner back in 2014. My first major injury took place in 2016 while training for a half marathon trying to set a sub 2 hour time. I tore my left knee meniscus and had to undergo surgery followed by a month of rehab. Post rehab, I started training again towards my half marathon goal. I chose the ADT Half Marathon as my target race. However, during the last 4 miles of the race, I felt a shooting pain at the back of my right heel going right up to the hamstring. I literally hobbled the last few miles to the finish line. A consultation with the podiatrist revealed Achilles Tendonitis. Similar to 2016, I had to take a break again at the end of 2017 and focused on physiotherapy to heal up.

2018 was a repeat of 2017. After my Tendonitis went away, I started running again and ran several races including a half marathon. However, my tendonitis came back at the end of the year and was sidelined one more time. By this time I got extremely frustrated with my injury cycles and started looking for answers.

Beginning of 2019, I started working with a new coach. After hearing about my injury cycles, she started adding more cross training into my training plans. The goal was to strengthen the leg muscles and core. Cross training included biking at least once a week for an hour and strength training twice a week- with weights and kettle bells. Sometimes cross training would involve an hour of biking followed by a short run. After following the new training plan for few months, I talked to my coach and decided to go for the sub 2 hour half marathon goal one more time in September of that year. However, I missed the goal by one minute. Since I was feeling fine, I took a stab at another attempt at my half marathon goal within 3 months and finally hit it.

It has been 3 years since my last injury. In the mean time, I had been regularly running even during the pandemic. Last year, I ran a full marathon and hit the highest number of miles in a calendar year while staying injury free. I attribute all this success to cross training.