I regularly get asked by clients what they should do on days they aren't running. Cross-training is an essential part of the training process, and should not be neglected. While the answer "anything but running" is true, it's also not very specific. Strength training is important, and I also try to incorporate spin and yoga into my routine, but recently my favorite cross-training activity is barre. A Pure Barre studio opened up in my neighborhood a few months ago. Having never taken a barre class before, I didn't know what to expect. What I found was 55 minutes of tiny, isolated movements focusing on individual parts of the body, and a crazy soreness to follow the next day. I was hooked. I signed up for an unlimited month and fell in love. That was during my off-season. These days, while training, I like to hit a barre class 1-2x/week.
One thing I like about Pure Barre is that it is low-impact. Barre classes combine elements of pilates, ballet, and yoga along with an arm workout with light weights. This means that I can take a class on the same day as a shorter run, as it won't stress my body too much. It's especially good for core work. Runners often neglect the strength aspect of their training. Barre classes are a great way to get in the strength work and feel graceful while doing it. Plus I always like being in a class, the instructors motivate you to push yourself and embrace your strength. I highly recommend looking in your area to see which barre offerings are available to you!