Fun Cross Training Ideas

Ryan and I are in our third week of half marathon training. In my last post, I wrote about running the Smoky Mountain Half Marathon! We’re super excited, and we’re both sticking to our running schedules :)

My running schedule, clearly a beginner’s I-don’t-have-enough-time-to-train-properly schedule, has a minimum of three runs per week (potentially 4) and a minimum of one cross-training workout per week (2 workouts if I do only three runs).

Online running websites and forums offer up a few yawn-inducing cross training ideas: get on the elliptical, stationary bike, or go for a walk. There’s nothing wrong with those suggestions…it’s just that the thought of them brings on one big yawn. And let’s be honest…sometimes running can be boring, so additional cardio is not on my agenda.

Here are a few cross-training activities I’ve included in my training that have kept my interest:


fun cross training ideas


Ballet? Yes! Ballet is actually great for running. It strengthens your ankles and feet. It improves your balance, and you’ll also get a great stretch! Your muscles are being used in a completely different way, so it won’t negatively affect your next run. And if you think it sounds just as boring as another run, I challenge you to try a full class :)

Here are a few videos to use on those in between days:

12 Minute Athlete

This app, developed by blogger Krista whose motto is “Don’t Waste Life in a Gym,”  randomly generates 12, 16, or 18 minute circuit workouts. You can choose the equipment you have (dumbells, medicine ball, dip bar, pull up bar, etc) or select no equipment at all, and the app will count down through the intervals of your workout!

I completed this one the other day:

12 minute athlete cross training

I did a little more ab work at the end, for a total of 20 minutes. It was quick, efficient, and the perfect strength workout to fit in between running days.


There’s no hiding that this cross-training workout is, in fact, just a shorter, speedier running workout. But that’s okay because you’ll be done in less than 15 minutes! There are two sprint workouts I’ve done:

  • Tabata Sprints: sprint for 20s, rest for 10s, repeat until you reach a total of 4 minutes, or 8 eight sprints
  • Hill Sprints: find a steep hill, and decide how many times you want to sprint up! In New Orleans, I did this workout on the levees. In Georgia, there are a variety of hills to choose from :)

YouTube Fitness Challenges

There are so many awesome fitness videos online, but sometimes I sit through 10 minutes of a video before realizing it’s just plain awful. I prefer combining a few shorter, more challenging videos! Here are a bunch that you could combine to make a longer workout!

“Run the World” Ab Workout

“Bring Sally Up” Push Up Challenge

“Scream and Shout” Squat Challenge

“Dark Horse” Cardio Leg Challenge

“Uptown Funk” Whole Body

Question: Runners, what do you do on your off days? Any suggestions for those in between days?

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