Are you unsure about what form of cross-training to use during your marathon training cycle? Consider hopping onto the elliptical machine for some great benefits.
Provides Cardio Exercise
Regular cardio exercise is the cornerstone of any marathon training plan. For the most part, that cardio should be in the form of running, which makes sense-- you're training to run a marathon, after all. But running too much can be stressful on the body, and eventually lead to injury. That's why many training plans have cross-training days built-in. Once or twice a week, you're able to get in a good cardio workout, without actually running.
The elliptical is an excellent option for cross-training. You can control the intensity by raising or lowering the resistance. You can throw in intervals, pedal backwards, or simply take it easy. Ellipticals allow you to customize your workout to your particular needs.
Gives Muscles and Joints a Break
Although the elliptical moves your legs through a similar motion to running, it doesn't put the same kind of stress on your muscles and joints. When you run, every time your foot comes into contact with the pavement, a shock wave is sent up through your legs. This makes running a high impact form of exercise, which can actually be beneficial for your body when done in moderation.
Your marathon cross-training, however, should be lower impact to help give your body a break. Elliptical machines will work your legs without putting excessive stress on muscles and joints.
Works Different Muscle Groups
When you do the same exercise over and over, you work the same muscles over and over. Ultimately, this leads to a few really strong muscles-- but what about the ones that aren't being worked as hard? You can wind up with a muscular imbalance, where certain muscles are much weaker than the surrounding ones. This can eventually lead to injury.
Cross-training on the elliptical helps work different muscles in addition to the ones you use to run. Pedaling backwards or raising the intensity and incline can help you target different sets of muscles. Additionally, some machines have swinging poles for your arms, allowing you to work your upper body.
Helps Fight Boredom and Burnout
Let's face it: doing the same thing for weeks on end can get boring. Even if you love running, marathon training is long and grueling. Throwing in a couple workouts on the elliptical each week can keep your workout routine interesting-- helping you stay motivated and on track with your training.
If you're looking for a safe, effective way to cross-train, the elliptical machine is a great option. For more information on which equipment would be best for your training program, talk to a company like Gym Outfitters Inc.