From my own personal experience, I shouldn’t run more than four days a week and never three days in a row. When training for a full marathon or half marathon, the rest of my weekly workouts are spent recovering and getting stronger for my runs. These activities have proven the best for gaining running strength and staying injury-free.
Jump squats, box jumps, mountain climbers, burpees, and other explosive movements incorporate the fast twitch muscle fibers needed for speed. I like to incorporate plyometric training when I’m in a low mileage period of training; otherwise, it takes too long to recover. I like to add plyometrics into my strength training sessions.
After a tough long run, PR race, or intense speedwork session, the best thing for my body is to swim the next day. I’m a very recent adapter to a swimming routine having swam for less than a year, but I can confidently attest to the no-impact workout’s benefits. Getting your blood flowing and giving your legs a break feels refreshing after pounding your legs on pavement for 40 miles/week.
Jesse has touted spin’s benefits, and I agree that cycling is a great way to strengthen your legs and your aerobic fitness without running. If I’m really sore, I tell myself to just pedal easy with little resistance, and by the end, my legs have usually loosened up.
Yesterday, I had my best run in months, and I’m crediting that in part to the yoga challenge. I felt excited to run and considerably limber, and I’m motivated to start running regularly again. Bikram’s deep stretching and strengthening through body weight exercises has helped me in ways that regularly lifting and foam rolling have not. An update to the yoga challenge will be posted tomorrow!