Q&A: Cross training

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Is a short bike ride as good as a short run?

It can be, on recovery days, especially if your legs are tired from a hard run – cycling emphasises different muscles. Don’t take it too easy: try to maintain a cadence of 90 revolutions per minute. Also, don’t make this swap more than once or twice a week – running-specific muscle adaptations are harder to develop if your running mileage drops too low.

Christopher Baker, runner and coach

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Is skipping with a rope good for runners?

Yes – by making your toe-off more explosive, skipping helps develop a longer, quicker stride. It also requires the kind of good form that mimics good running form. Do sets of 30-second reps, 60 seconds’ rest; build from three to six sets.

Brett Stewart, co-author of Ultimate Jump Rope Workouts (Ulysses Press)

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Which muscles should I foam roll?

Start with the lower-body parts you use most while running: quads, IT bands (the sides of your legs, from knee to hip), calves and glutes. Then, hit your torso and back. Roll slowly for up to 15 minutes a day.

Steve Barrett, author of Total Foam Rolling Techniques (Bloomsbury)

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