There must have been something in the water this week because Ian Mountford also decided to write about cross training, here in the context of the importance of throwing a bit of much needed variety into your training to keep it fresh.  Some much needed advice in the drab , dark days when we all need to keep the training interesting to keep the training going…

As the winter weeks tick by and the mileage increases, take some time to consider a few change-ups to your training plans. It could be a new routine working a muscle group you normally bypass or a simple stretch to include in your warm up. How about testing a new race day tactic, or sampling that sports drink that you’ve had your eye on for a while? Now is most definitely the time.

Some variety at this time of the year will keep your sessions interesting. The clock is ticking on your springtime goals and it’s the work that you do now that will take you there in the best shape possible, so make each session as purposeful as you can. Make your muscles ‘think’ with a change to the old ways and be sure to reap the benefits. It works for our brains, so make it work for your muscles, too.

Swimming is an excellent form of cross training

Crosstraining will also do the trick. A non-weight bearing session will take the pressure off your limbs but still give you a hard workout. It’s also ideal if you pick up an injury and need some time to recover without losing your base fitness. Try a few hard lengths in the pool, or a spinning class at the gym. And what about trying something completely new, like joining a rowing club? Now, there’s a thought.

What methods do you use to stay motivated in the winter months? It would be great to hear from you.

Ian Mountford has been a runner for over 20 years, and uses the pool and his bike for a bit of ‘competitive crosstraining’ every now and again. He’s also on Twitter and blogs about his sport here.

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