adidas / December 2020
6 Minute Read

Cross Training for Runners: 20 Minute Circuit Workouts

Learn how cross-training is the secret weapon to reaching your running goals, and become a better runner with this simple 20-minute cross-training workout.

What Are the Benefits of Cross-Training? Why Should Runners Do It?
It may sound counterintuitive, but if you’re a runner who only ever runs, then you might be cutting your potential short. Whether you’ve been running for years or are picking it up as your newest form of exercise, cross-training will benefit your running practice. “Don’t run to train—train to run. Because the more you train for running, the more you’ll get out of your run,” explained Genevieve Payne, a Performance Specialist with EXOS in Portland, Oregon. Payne coaches athletes of all types, and emphasizes the importance of strengthening your muscles for your overall athletic health. 
Cross-training for runners can be different based on your primary running goals, but the general purpose is to train your muscles in a different way than how they get trained from running. By shaking up your exercise routine, you can gain strength, flexibility, and balance, which can all help to make you a stronger and faster runner. 
Mix It Up: Different Types of Cross-Training
Since running is a cardio workout, some of the best cross-training for runners includes strength workouts. According to Payne, single-leg strength exercises benefit runners because of the unilateral motion of running, and in her opinion, everybody can benefit from stronger glutes. But it’s important to not only focus on the legs—running is a total body sport, so cross-training should work to strengthen your lower and upper body, core, and balance.
If you’re wondering how to cross-train, start by finding something you’re interested in. Yoga, Pilates, cycling, and boxing are fun ways to mix up your workout schedule while training your muscles and cardiovascular endurance in different ways than running. There’s also plenty of strength workouts you can do at home with little to no equipment if you can’t get to a gym. 
Here’s an example of what a week of workouts could look like for a runner who is incorporating cross-training into their running schedule. Use this as inspiration to create your own schedule based on your preferred workouts and goals. If you’re just getting into running, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Running article to learn how to create a running schedule and increase your endurance. 
An At-Home Cross-Training Workout for Runners 
Ready to do some cross-training at home? This workout takes less than 20 minutes and requires no equipment, but if you have some weights you can always add them for an extra challenge. 
This routine is broken up into three circuits. Each circuit consists of three cross-training exercises. Do all three exercises in one circuit for the specified number of reps, and then repeat the set before moving on to the next circuit.
CIRCUIT 1 (2 sets x 8 reps)

Linear Bound

How to do it:
1. Stand on one leg with your back straight and your core engaged, with your hips and arms back, and knees bent.
2. Immediately bound forward, using arms and hips to generate momentum.
3. Land on your opposite leg, absorbing impact with your hip.
4. Hold for two seconds, stand and repeat with other leg.
Acceleration Wall Drill

How to do it:
1.  Stand leaning forward at about a 45-degree angle with your hands on a wall and your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles in a straight line.
2. Lift one knee and foot toward the wall and pause, squeezing your standing leg’s glute.
3. Quickly drive this foot back to the starting position as you lift the other knee toward the wall and then pause, squeezing the standing leg’s glute.
4. Continue alternating to complete the set.
Acceleration – High Split

How to do it:
1. Place two cones about 10 meters apart. Stand at one cone with your feet hip-width apart in a split stance.
2. Accelerate forward toward the second cone by driving out of your hip, maintaining a forward lean and good posture.
3. Continue to accelerate forward for 10 meters through the second cone.
4. Switch legs and repeat.
CIRCUIT 2 (2 sets x 8 reps each)
RDL – 1 leg (dumbbell optional)

How to do it:
1. Stand on one foot with your knee slightly bent, holding a dumbbell in the opposite hand with an overhand grip.
2. Hinge forward at the waist, lowering the dumbbell as your non-supporting leg lifts behind you.
3. Contract your hamstrings and glutes to return to a standing position.
4. Complete eight reps on one side before repeating with the opposite leg.
Bent Knee Hamstring Stretch

 How to do it:
1. Lie on your back with both legs straight. Pull one knee toward your chest, grasping behind the knee.
2. Straighten your lower leg as much as possible without letting your knee move away from your chest for two seconds.
3. Relax and return to the starting position.
4. Complete the reps on one side before repeating with the opposite leg.
Push Up

How to do it:
1. Start in the classic push-up position with your hands beneath your shoulders and your legs straight behind you.
2. Keeping your torso stable and hips square to the ground, bend your elbows to lower your body to the ground.
3. Without touching the ground, push yourself back up. 
4. Continue for eight reps.
CIRCUIT 3 (2 sets x 8 reps each)
Split Squat (dumbbell optional)

How to do it:
1. Stand tall in a split stance with your feet shoulder-width apart and your weight on the arch of your front foot.
2. Lower your hips toward the ground by bending your knees.
3. Without letting your back knee touch the ground, push through your front leg to return to the starting position. 
4. Complete eight reps on one side before repeating with the opposite leg.
Quad Hip Flexor Stretch

How to do it:
1. Place one foot flat on the ground in front of you with your opposite knee on a soft pad or mat behind you.
2. Lean your torso slightly forward, tighten your stomach, and contract the glute of your back leg. 
3. Maintaining this position, shift your entire body slightly forward and hold for two seconds. 
4. Relax and return to the starting position. Complete eight reps on one side before switching to the other.
Single-Leg Glute Bridge


How to do it:
1. Lie face up with your arms at your sides, knees bent, and heels on the ground. 
2. Bend your knee on one side, bring it toward your chest, and hold it there.
3. Fire your glute to lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders are in a line. Hold for two seconds.
4. Lower your hips back to the ground and complete eight reps on one side before repeating on the other leg.
Creating Your Cross-Training Routine
Incorporate this workout into your routine and notice if you feel stronger on your runs as time goes by—but don’t be afraid to mix it up. “Our bodies are made to move. As much as our minds like routine, it’s good to change up the stimulus,” said Payne. Try out new workouts in addition to your runs, because it could be just what you need to make those gains and reach your running goals.
adidas / December 2020
6 Minute Read