There are many research studies that show the immense benefits to cross-training. Cross-training is essentially using other forms of physical activity to maintain or improve performance. Cross-training can be used to increase exercise economy in such cases like using weighted squats for runners to increase muscle strength. It can also be used to minimize the effects of certain training stresses. An example of this would be a runner using cycling maintain or improve his/her VO2 Max yet not have the physical impact on the body tissues from running.
When an athlete ceases to train, especially in aerobic endurance training, the gains that have been attained from training can be lost very quickly. Cross-training can only slow this process slightly, so in order to slow or stop the loss of training benefits, an athlete should continue to train by modes discussed in a previous blog.
Tapering has been show to be an effective way for aerobic athletes to reach their peak potential for a competition. The goal of tapering is to greatly reduce training duration and intensity for a set period of time before competition while greatly focusing attention on the individual's diet and lifestyle habits to increase their performance on race day. The idea is to allow the body to heal, recover and hydrate in order to 100% for competition.
Similar to cross-training, resistance training can have many benefits for aerobic endurance athletes. Benefits include faster recovery from injuries, prevention of overuse injuries, and reduction of muscle imbalances.