You’ve heard it a thousand times, often on this site or in the pages of our mag: Cross-training does your body good. It builds strength and flexibility in muscles that running doesn’t utilize. It prevents injury by correcting muscular imbalances. And the variety prevents boredom and burnout.
Still, according to a recent Runner’s World poll, 35 percent of runners never ride a bike, swim laps, or lift weights.
Running is arguably the quickest way to get lean, blow off steam, and build your legs, heart, and lungs. Isn’t that enough?
Not if you want to achieve overall health. If that’s your goal, you should branch out. Cross-training develops cardiovascular fitness, training the systems that deliver oxygen to working muscles, while reducing your risk of injury by preventing overuse.
But even the most ardent believer in mixing things up can get derailed by common complaints – after all, pain, soreness, and boredom can and do occur, especially if you’re trying something new. Here’s how to get over your cross-training problems, and get on with your fitness.
“My bum hurts when I ride my bike.”
Get Over It
Check your bike fit. An ill-fitting bicycle (or stationary bike) can cause back, neck, and knee pain.
When your hands are positioned on top of the handlebars, your elbows should be slightly bent. At the bottom of the pedal stroke, your leg should be about 25 degrees shy of straight. Position the pedals under the ball of your foot. Consider a couple of key accessory purchases: a good pair of bike shorts with a chamois will protect your backside and a gender-specific saddle will better accommodate your shape. Limit your ride time to 30 minutes at first; after about six sessions, your body will adapt and the soreness will fade.
Click next to “get over it”.