Throughout the last 4 and a half years that I have been running, I have not really incorporated any type of cross-training. For a brief time I did PiYo and Focus T25, as well as a random hot yoga class here and there. But nothing that was a regular routine. I would run and stretch and really, that was fine for me.

But after joining Gold’s Gym Largo at the end of last year, signing up for the 12-week challenge, and working out regularly 4-5 days a week since for the last 5 months, it has made me realize what my body has been missing out on and what I am capable of.While cardio (such as running) is good for the body and you will build up endurance over time, you are missing out if you don’t do more. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is wonderful for building stamina, strength, and endurance. For 12 weeks, we did bootcamp three days a week and it has made a HUGE difference. Those intense bursts of activity followed by rest does wonders for stamina and endurance. An added bonus? Your body continues to burn calories and fat after a HIIT workout.

During HIIT training, you can work your entire body. Upper body, core, and lower body work all make for a better runner. A strong core has made a difference in my running. Even running on the treadmill I feel a difference over the last five months.

In addition, weight training is very beneficial. Strength training helps with form while running, it strengthens muscles and joints, and can help prevent injury. I also don’t tire as fast when I run longer distances.

A typical week of workouts for me includes:
– bootcamp twice a week (full body workout)
– legs once a week (leg press, leg extensions, leg curls, squats, calf raises)
– upper body twice a week (biceps, triceps, back, shoulders)
– abs and core five days a week
– run on treadmill, ride bike, or do the stairclimber three days a week
– stretch five days a week
– run 4 miles on Sundays when possible

How has my running changed after 5 months in the gym?
– stronger legs
– less winded while running
– can run longer before taking a walk break
– improved pace
– not as tired after running
– stronger core helps with my breathing while running

I never thought I was missing out by not cross-training and doing more but now I know that I was. How would this have made a difference in my running and races over the last 4 years? Probably a good bit. I am a believer now and will continue to look for improvements over the next few months as we continue bootcamp and doing weights on non-bootcamp days.


About the Author: Nanci is a Best Damn Race Ambassador and blogger at This Crazy Life of Mine. She’s a runner, dog-mom, and proud Aunt. Read more about her adventures by clicking on her blog name above.