Do you cross train?
You very likely do something that someone would call cross training. Whether things to supplement our aerobic conditioning like elliptical trainers or cycling or things like strength training to beef up some aspects of our fitness that running may not do as great at, almost all of us do something.
How do you prioritize your cross training, though?
If your goals revolve around running performance, I’d like you to consider cross training to be a supplement to your running, not a replacement.
What does that means?
That means running is the top priority. You set up your training plan to do as much running as you can commit to. Once your running is done, you use what time and energy you still have available to do the other exercises.
If you are debating between another 10 minutes of running or 10 minutes of cross training, you should think first of running. Only if the extra 10 minutes of running would lead to problems (injury, scheduling conflicts, etc.) should you look to the additional exercises.
This doesn’t mean you ignore those extra exercises. They might be important when doing more running might put you at too great of a risk for injury. You might have a big block of time available to run and a smaller block that is not enough time for running but might fit a quick living room strength session of a few lunges and some push ups. Then take advantage of this time.
As much as possible, build your cross training into the plan also. I do a quick routine that takes less than 5 minutes before every run and this includes walking lunges. It’s a great way to warm up before the run and a nice boost to the strength training.
So don’t ignore your cross training in whatever form it may come. However, be sure that running is the top priority if your goals revolve around running.