You’ve heard the old saying, ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’. Well, that’s because something could go wrong and you no longer have any eggs. At Rainier Fruit, we try and practice the same principle by diversifying our crops and farming styles. We have apples, pears, cherries and blueberries and we have both conventional and organic orchards.

The reason for our diversification is multifold. It allows us to access different markets, utilize different land for different purposes that might work better, manage resources and more. It’s just smart business. So why wouldn’t we treat our body the same way we treat our business assets. Focusing on improving our eating, our fitness routine and our mental health are just parts of the diversification puzzle related to a wholesome lifestyle. And speaking of diversifying our workouts, Laura from This Runner’s Recipes reminds us that diversifying a running routine is also critical to top performance.


Lace Up Tips from Laura

Running is an excellent choice of exercise: it improves your cardiovascular health, manages weight, and even boosts cognitive function. However, whether you are training for a race or running for general health and fitness, you want to incorporate more into your fitness routine than just running. Aerobic cross-training and supplemental training offer numerous benefits for runners, from preventing injury to improving your ability as a runner.

Types of Aerobic Cross-Training

When it comes to running, you can divide cross-training into two groups: activities that mimic the specific movements of running and activities that train different muscle groups in different planes of motion.

Activities that mimic the specific movement of running are ideal for when you are injured and unable to run. These activities will help you maintain your hard-earned running fitness as you heal. The elliptical, cycling, and pool running all work the same muscle groups in the same repetitive forward motion as running and also let you train at a similar level of intensity.

However, cross-training is not limited to the elliptical, pool, or bike. One of the common weaknesses of runners is that they train their bodies to work in one plane of motion – forward movement. The repetitive training often causes running injuries, so by cross-training in other planes of motion, you can improve your total body strength and reduce your risk of injury. These type of cross-training exercises include swimming and rowing.

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While they are also a forward movement, hiking, cross-country and Nordic skiing, as well as snowshoeing all require lateral movements and more variation of muscle activity, therefore making them a good cross-training choice for runners as well.

Aerobic cross-training is beneficial to anyone looking to improve their fitness, but injured runners, or injury-prone runners will find the most benefits. Cross-training builds up your aerobic base, therefore improving your running, while reducing the impact and load on the body, therefore reducing risk of injury.

Injured runners can cross-train to maintain their fitness as they recover from injury. The type of cross-training you do depends on the nature and severity of your injury. Runners with mild injuries can do the elliptical, bike, or other weight-bearing cross-training activities, while runners with stress fractures should stick to swimming or pool running to avoid loading the healing fracture.

Cross-training can serve as also an alternative exercise to running for injury-prone runners. Not every runner finds that running 5-7 days per week works for them. For injury-prone runners, new runners, triathletes, or master’s runners, running three or four days per week meshes better with their goals. Cross-training adds aerobic exercise to the other days without the repetitive motion and high impact of running.

Supplemental Training

Aerobic cross-training is an essential aspect of training for some runners, while other runners stay injury-free and improve without any other aerobic exercise beyond running. However, whether you cross-train and just run, you want to include some supplemental training that will help you become stronger and prevent injury. Supplemental training includes activities that are not aerobic but instead focus on one of the other aspects of fitness: strength, mobility, or flexibility. Pilates, yoga, weight lifting, bodyweight strength training, and plyometrics are examples of supplemental training for runners. Supplemental training should be done two to three times per week.

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Sample Schedules

Run 3-4 Days Per Week:

  1. Monday: Cross-train and strength/mobility
  2. Tuesday: Run
  3. Wednesday: Cross-train and strength/mobility
  4. Thursday: Run
  5. Friday: Cross-train
  6. Saturday: Long Run
  7. Sunday: Rest

Run 5-6 Days Per Week:

  1. Monday: Run and strength/mobility
  2. Tuesday: Run
  3. Wednesday: Run and strength/mobility
  4. Thursday: Run
  5. Friday: Run or Cross-train
  6. Saturday: Long Run
  7. Sunday: Rest

Cross-training activities keep your training balanced, add some variety and fun to your workouts, and keep you injury-free – there are no reasons not to do more than just run!

This is good advice from Laura and sounds a lot like life at Rainier. Variety really is the spice of life and it’s just more fun when everything is working great because we spent time planning and preparing to prevent the things that could go wrong.

Keep living Wholesome to the Core and we’ll keep growing the wholesome fruits you love.