Many runners find themselves dreading cross training days. For some reason, heading out the door to log some mileage or complete a running workout feels much easier than heading to the gym for a cross training session. But cross training doesn’t always have to feel like a chore.
One of the most beneficial types of cross training for runners is an elliptical workout.
As a machine that mimics the action of running without actually creating impact, the elliptical really stands out when it comes to running alternatives.
Not only does it help maintain running fitness by working your core running muscles, but it also helps strengthen various other muscles as well as your cardiovascular system.
Incorporating regular elliptical workouts into your training plan will help your entire body stay strong, while avoiding injury from overuse.
But while the elliptical seems like a solid form of cross training, a lot of runners find themselves bored with the monotony of a machine workout. So many of us fall into the same trap: we hop on the elliptical with the goal of completing X amount of minutes, hit start, and then zone out.
Which sounds dreadful.
However, elliptical workouts don’t have to feel boring.
The elliptical is a great place to complete interval training to keep your mind occupied and gain maximum strength with every cross training workout.
It’s also an excellent way to maintain running fitness during the off season, or at times when you are unable to run. Whether you’re injured, pregnant, coming back from a break or simply stuck inside due to the weather, fitting in an elliptical workout is a great way for runners to stay in shape.
These two elliptical workouts are perfect for runners. Each workout challenges your body with various levels of resistance, alternating between low and high throughout the workout.
Changing resistance is a great way to practice interval training by forcing your body to adapt to various difficulties throughout the workout.
In addition, as an added bonus, continuously changing things up helps time fly by during these elliptical workouts.
If your elliptical trainer is programmed with different resistance levels, you can mimic this workout by thinking of level 1-4 as low resistance, 5-9 as moderate resistance, and 10-12 as intense resistance.
2 Beneficial Elliptical Workouts for Runners
30 Minute Elliptical Strength Interval Workout
- 0:00-5:00 – Warm Up, Resistance 3
- 5:00-7:30 – Resistance 5
- 7:30-9:00 – Resistance 7
- 9:00-10:30 – Resistance 4
- 10:30-12:00 – Resistance 9
- 12:30-14:00 – Resistance 5
- 14:00-15:30 – Resistance 10
- 15:30-17:00 – Resistance 3
- 17:00-18:30 – Resistance 12
- 18:30-20:00 – Resistance 7
- 20:00-21:30 – Resistance 12
- 21:30-23:00 – Resistance 4
- 23:00-24:30 – Resistance 8
- 24:30-26:00 – Resistance 5
- 26:30-30:00 – Cool Down, Resistance 3
45 Minute Elliptical Running Interval Workout
- 0:00-5:00 – Warm Up, Resistance 3
- 5:00-7:30 – Resistance 9
- 7:30-10:00 – Resistance 4
- 10:00-12:30 – Resistance 8
- 12:30-15:00 – Resistance 5
- 15:00-17:30 – Resistance 10
- 17:30-20:00 – Resistance 5
- 20:00-22:30 – Resistance 9
- 22:30-25:00 – Resistance 5
- 25:00-27:30 – Resistance 8
- 27:30-30:00 – Resistance 5
- 30:00-32:30 – Resistance 9
- 32:30-35:00 – Resistance 5
- 35:00-37:30 – Resistance 8
- 37:30-40:00 – Resistance 5
- 40:00-45:00 – Cool Down, Resistance 3
These elliptical workouts are a great place to start when you are unsure how to spend your cross training day. Mixing things up not only keeps your training interesting, but helps your body avoid both injury and burnout.
Enjoy the simplicity of an elliptical trainer, and take full advantage of all the different interval settings.
Your running strength, fitness, and mental health will all be better for it.
More cross training workout ideas:
- 12 Fun Cross Training Workout Ideas for Runners
- 30 Minute Cross Training Workout Challenge
- How to Stay Fit During the Running Off Season