It’s not uncommon for runners to forego other forms of exercise. Running is what we love, after all. But cross-training plays an important role in improvement. It gives our running muscles a chance to recover while strengthening underused muscle groups and connective tissue, which helps stave off injuries. So when dark days and cold weather force you to a gym, here’s how to get a good workout on common cardio machines.
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Elliptical: It’s easy to adjust these machines to mimic the range of motion you use while running. The activity will stimulate your neuromuscular system to maintain muscle adaptations, while resting the muscle that does most of the work—the calf.
Rowing machine: Rowing is an excellent way to tap underutilized muscle groups and condition the entire body. In addition to strengthening your legs, the rowing machine will also challenge your arms, back, shoulders, and glutes.
Stationary bike: Cycling complements different components of running. Standing while pedaling does the muscle work of running, while spinning at a high cadence (over 90 revolutions per minute) mimics turnover and quickens your step.
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Easy: Do the following on a single machine or on a combination of machines: Warm up, then “run” on the elliptical, spin, or row at a very easy pace or resistance for two minutes. Increase the intensity or resistance for two minutes. Repeat sequence three or four times, then cool down.
Moderate: Complete one sequence of the easy workout (at left) and also walk for 10 minutes. Then do this: “Run,” spin, or row easy for three minutes, followed by three minutes of increased intensity or resistance. Repeat the sequence three or four times, then cool down.
Hard: Complete one easy workout, walk for five minutes, complete one moderate workout, walk for five minutes, then do the following: “Run,” spin, or row easy for one minute. Do two minutes at a moderate pace, then one minute hard. Repeat four times, then cool down.