Should I run?

Is just running really the best training.


Its easy to get drawn in to just running for exercise – let’s face it we’re in a running club….but is running on its own a good idea – or is it better to ‘cross train’ (ie take part in a different type of exercise) alongside, or sometimes in place of a run?


Well lets see what evidence we can find….

According to Matt Fitzgerald, author of numerous running books, there are five reasons to consider adding some cross training to your regime.


  1. Fewer Injuries – adding strength training or low impact exercises such as swimming or cycling to your week can help stretch tight IT bands, and loosen tight connective tissues and therefore prevent injuries.
  2. Faster Rehabilitation – if you do get injured, maintaining fitness by means other than running, and also having a higher level of all around fitness can reduce the time injury takes to heal – and also means when you are ready to start running again you will be back to your best quicker.
  3. Greater Aerobic Fitness – due to the pounding running can inflict on the body, sometimes it feels as though you can only manage so many hours a week without getting sore or injured – by adding non-impact endurance sports you can train for extra hours each week – but also push your aerobic capacity without the strain on your joints
  4. More Power – a benefit of strength training, particularly jumping drills or plyometrics, is that when you come to that finishing line sprint you will have a different muscle group to call on to give that final blast to the finish line. In a recent Swedish study, trained runners replaced around 30% of their running hours with plyometrics for a period of nine weeks. After the nine weeks the sprint speed, running economy and 5K race times were all found to have improved – where as the control group who only ran showed no improvements.
  5. Greater Efficiency – ‘dynamic flexibility’ is the ability to perform sports movements (such as running) with minimal internal resistance from your muscles and joints. Dynamic stretches (for example walking lunges) are a great way to improve your dynamic flexibility, and as a by-product reduce the energy needed to run a certain pace for a certain distance – in essence you can run the same 5k or 10k time, but use less energy – so of course you can use the energy in reserve to push a little faster!

So there you have it – next time you are lacing up the running shoes, take a moment to think about is a run really what your body needs right now – or would something else actually be of benefit? (just not on a club night you understand!).


If you have any questions or would like to know more – either speak to myself, or the club captain / vice captain – or email me at

Happy running

Coach Warby


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