There are lots of other running sports, as much as runners don't often want to admit it.
And, there are sports that involve no running at all (oh, the horror!).
Interestingly, we've observed that some of our favorite, elite runners are actively involved in other sports during the year.
With that, they get a break from repetitive motions, impacts, and other variables that, collectively, could lead to injury.
That mental and physical break from running allows for rest, recovery, and the development of other skills, that can make them a much more well-rounded athlete.
It is similar to our belief that youth athletes should delay specialization in just one sport, participating in many sports, allowing them to experience the varied movements, energy system requirements, and fundamental skills that will add to the foundation of their athleticism.
My earliest memories of participating in sports were the games my Brother, Sister, and I would play with friends in the neighborhood.
Between the 3 of us, we participated in nearly everything (minus maybe golf and hockey, since I don't believe any of us could skate very well at the time!).
Among the sports we enjoyed:
With all the enjoyment had, it is probably no wonder that I chose Physical Education and Exercise Science for my undergraduate studies, leading to my last two decades as a health and fitness professional.
Little did we know that all that we'd experienced while growing up was a form of crosstraining for other running sports (and non-running sports).
I loved being able to participate in so many different sports, as well as different events within those sports.
It is still a goal of mine today, to be physically (and mentally) prepared to take on the challenges presented in any recreational activities or competitive sports or events.
The varied movement patterns, team dynamics, and stresses can make for more durable athletes.
Recommended Reading: Top 5 Cross Training Tips by Allie Mac
Beginning near 2012, I began participating in OCR (obstacle course racing) based on the suggestion of a Personal Training client.
Very quickly, we began forming teams for Tough Mudder events, Spartan Race events, and other local events.
I loved the challenges presented by the distances (everything from 3-ish miles to ultramarathon distances), the creative obstacles (each race organization had their staples), and the camaraderie.
Each weekend, I'd be in a different part of the Country, running multiple laps on multiple days, with the hundreds of other "crazies" who were traveling as far and as often for the same powerful experiences.
It was a fantastic way to see more of the USA, and to connect with so many people that I'm happy to call friends.
In the longer races, I'd find myself deep in my own Personal Training mind, thinking about what was going well in the race, and how I would adjust my training to perform better in upcoming events.
The most rewarding part of the overall experience of participating in obstacle course races has been in running alongside the clients that I've helped to prepare for their race day, and in seeing them achieve things on the course that they might not have ever imagined themselves accomplishing. Love it!
The challenge of triathlon drew me in. It sort of fit the mold of other running sports, where at least 1/3 of the events included that familiar activity.
Pro tip: All that pool swimming when I was a kid; it didn't help much when it came to navigating the ocean waves! Add that to the list of things to continue practicing.
One thing that I love about triathlons is that it does take some level of proficiency in several disciplines in order to find success. (There's that crosstraining again!).
I also love that the places where you might compete can be so different. From pools to lakes to the ocean for the swim; flat loops, rolling hills, mountains, and more for the bike; and tracks, loops, and mountains for the run, I don't believe I'll ever complain about the surroundings!
Also, I'm positive that an ultra-triathlon is in my future, though it may not contain an ocean element!
We're so glad that we were introduced to rucking, as a fundraising event, as a sport, and as an activity that all can enjoy.
We know you're curious, just like we were.
If you're anything like us, rucking will quickly become one of your favorite crosstraining activities, just like it is ours!
Whether obstacle racing, triathlon running, adventure racing, or some other sport or activity we're yet to discover, we'd love to hear all about your faves.
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