Can Cross Training Improve Run Times?

Can you be strong without sacrificing endurance? Or, powerful without affecting stamina?


The answer and emerging research seem to suggest a resounding “YES!” We’ve known this through anecdotal data for quite some time; that – by applying interval-style cross training – we’re actually able to improve long run times.

As an added bonus, cross training is tremendously efficient. Traditional endurance training left us with two main options: 1. Run more miles or 2. Run faster. While both of those can certainly improve your run times, they ignore some key aspects of fitness such as metabolism (i.e. weight loss), time under tension (road miles), and mobility.

Below are the 4 main principles we use to apply interval training to endurance athletes:

1. Focus on the anaerobic

By focusing on anaerobic (sprint/speed work) training, you not only increase your cardiovascular function; it can help decrease body fat, increase muscle mass, help gain strength, power and speed, and increase your ability to sprint faster, and longer.

2. Power equals performance

Studies show that explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power. Explosive (power), anaerobic training improves endurance capability. J Appl Physiol. 1999 May;86(5):1527-33.)

3. Recover quickly

When we aren’t working for hours each day leading up to an event, our recovery time and risk of injury is much smaller than hours and hours of pounding the pavement. Meaning we are ready to train again the next day, and the next, and the next; and we will be able to keep training while avoiding a lot of the issues and injuries involved with overtraining.

4. Overall fitness

Cross Training is defined as training in two or more sports in order to improve fitness and performance. Imagine improving power sports while also improving your 5k time, and in the end not really giving up any more hours of your day to training. So, by training for races through varied, high-intensity intervals, you’re able to apply the endurance you’ve gained to many more sports and activities. 

As a wife and a mom – like so many of us – my time is precious. Each hour of my day has to be utilized efficiently. I personally couldn’t afford to sacrifice hours to running; trying to improve my endurance capacity. Thankfully, I don’t have to, and neither do you. An interval-based running endurance program will replace those otherwise long, slow distance workouts that eat up your all-to valuable time.

-Coach Bri

There are just a couple spots left in Bri’s Spring Endurance Program. This program is designed for you to either compete in your first race or improve your times with less pavement hours. Reserve your spot today: