What Are Easy Runs And Why Are They Important?

Man running next to houses

When you’re training for running, you want to be spending a portion of time in certain heart rate zones, putting strain on your muscles, and a lot of that can be replicated with other other sports like cycling and swimming and using an elliptical machine. They are very productive forms of exercise to benefit your running. 

However, running is the only one of those four activities where we absorb impact. If you were to substitute all of your runs for cycling and using the elliptical, you would get a strong cardiovascular system, and you’d work similar muscles to those used in running. However, you wouldn’t get good at absorbing the impact, strengthening the tendons and the ligaments. 

As a result you need to make sure that you’re gradually building up that intensity, in terms of the impact, with your running. But when it comes to feeling a little bit of an ache and pain here or there, or maybe we don’t want to go outside in the rain, using the cross-trainer or the indoor bike is a really good alternative. 

Typically, cycling is easier. You get to sit down and you don’t have that impact. So normally I’d suggest extending your workout time by 50% or more if you’re going to substitute a run for a cycle. If you’re going on the elliptical, it’s a similar movement to running, but we may well want to extend that workout slightly again because we’re not getting the benefit of the impact that comes with running. 

However, often the reason for substituting running for cross-training is because you may have some form of an injury. If that’s the case, you probably shouldn’t be extending that workout to counterbalance that load, and instead you should work within the level your body can manage without creating any pain or issue. When you’re injured, the most important thing is overcoming the injury and not worrying too much about any lost fitness because that might set your recovery back.

Adam Smith is an accomplished individual who serves as an chief contributor at Healthify Magazine, a leading publication dedicated to promoting health and wellness. With a passion for empowering individuals to live healthier lives, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role.