Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cross Training a Key Part of a Runner's Regimen -- Especially as They Age

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cross Training a Key Part of a Runner's Regimen -- Especially as They Age

Article excerpt

Cross training is key for runners as they age

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TORONTO - Elise Yanover's body showed no signs of strain as she laced up the day before her 10-kilometre run.

It was a far different story when she took part in the downhill race.

Already overtrained and exhausted from a gruelling fitness regimen, the 10K quickly took its toll on the elite triathlete. Yanover sustained pelvic and hip stress fractures, which sidelined her from running for four months.

At her peak, she ran about 50 kilometres per week, in addition to hours devoted to swimming and cycling. The time away from training gave the Toronto-based physiotherapist an opportunity to think about retooling her routine.

Yanover continues to cycle -- albeit less frequently -- and has reduced the number of days devoted to running, maxing out at about 30 kilometres a week.

Swimming has been replaced by weight training. She has also incorporated hot yoga into her routine, which has helped provide mental calm as well as a workout.

Whether it's for leisure or competition, runners can often have a one-track mind in their approach to fitness. As they focus on building endurance or shaving seconds off their personal best time, their devotion to running -- and only running -- may result in neglecting other forms of exercise.

But cross training -- taking part in additional activities beyond a primary sport of choice -- is crucial for runners, especially as they get older, noted Reed Ferber, director of the Running Injury Clinic at the University of Calgary.

Ferber said after the age of 45, a process called sarcopenia -- or muscle wasting -- starts to take place.

"You naturally lose muscle and joints get a little stiffer... and you change the way that you run as a consequence," he said.

"We always say swim, bike, lift weights -- anything to maintain your cardiovascular fitness in addition to running. …

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