Why Runners Should Cross Train with Hydrow

Pete Donohoe

Running is a wonderful activity, and cross training with rowing is a great complement. There’s nothing like a good run to clear your head and know you’re doing something to improve your fitness. Whether you do it for pure joy or to compete and improve your time, it can cause wear and tear on your body.

Sometimes, you can do too much too soon and the joy of running begins to wane as shins start to hurt, feet feel like they're taking a beating, and hips are starting to feel achy and tight. And not to mention the pounding impact on the joints caused by the rhythmic impact on roads and other hard surfaces.

Cross training has become a smart strategy to prevent interruption in training, improve fitness, and manage overuse of muscles and joints. Rowing on Hydrow is an incredible way to complement running. The low-impact workouts help develop a stronger core, increase leg strength, and build endurance, all without putting stress on your joints.

Using the Hydrow rowing machine has become the new tool in helping runners stay on track with their training progression. Rowing builds muscle endurance by adding variety to your workout routine. Hydrow’s off-rower floor exercises, which include mobility, yoga and Pilates, help stretch and strengthen muscles. To be a better runner, you don’t just run more and activate the same limited muscles, you learn how to train in other ways to diversify your workouts. And rowing on Hydrow activates 86% of muscles. It’s a whole-body workout. 

What does a runner need from cross training?

- Strength to handle the load on the body.

- Endurance to run further.

- Flexibility in order to run with an efficient stride pattern.

- Balanced strength, so both legs are working equally and contributing the same force in movement. It’s common to find athletes with a more dominant, stronger side. That can lead to problems, including fatigue and injury, caused by overcompensating.

What does rowing provide for cross training?

- Strength without the load on joints.

- Builds endurance more efficiently.

- Rowing technique builds better hip-hinge movement which supports better hip function. 

- Improved mobility.

- Both feet are strapped into the Hydrow, creating a symmetrical platform, so there’s equal force production through both legs. This is the perfect way to work on fixing potential instabilities in the legs that will help with running performance. 

How to cross train with Hydrow

Peter Donohoe, Hydrow’s Strength and Movement Specialist, two-time Olympian and former track and field pro shares his three favorite Hydrow workouts for runners:

- 10 min Pre-Row Standing Dynamic Warm-Up with Nick - Many Hydrow members use this warm up before going for a run. It has all the right elements before hitting the pavement. Activation, mobility, and dynamic warm-up movements essential to running. 

- 20 min Endurance Climb Row with Marathoner and Rowing Athlete Aisyah - An efficient method for building muscular endurance, this workout triggers the body’s different energy systems, making it an effective stamina builder.

- 20 min Whole Body Pilates or 20 min Bodyweight Strength Workout - These provide excellent ways to build strength in some of the forgotten areas that ultimately help you row and run better. There are multiple options in the Hydrow library and doing them twice a week is recommended. 

- 15 min Commit to Fit Recover and Restore Yoga

The perfect way to unwind the body from a hard run and restore calm back into muscle tissue. 

Get started with our cross training plan

Peter’s weekly runner training plan for preparing for a 5K or a 10K road race:

- Day 1: 10 min mobility warm up, 5-6 mile easy long run

- Day 2: 10 min foam roller, 20 min rowing on Hydrow (sweat or drive)

- Day 3: 20 min Pilates or bodyweight strength, 3 mile tempo run or fartlek “speed play” continuous/interval training

- Day 4: 10 min mobility, 10 min core, 15-20 min rowing on Hydrow (breathe)

- Day 5: 20 min restorative yoga

- Day 6: 10 min foam roller, 10 min mobility warm up, 6x400m on the track with 1 min recovery between each 400m (1 lap of the track), 10 min 1.5 mile cool down jog

- Day 7: 10 min runner’s warm-up, 10 min breathe (easy) row on Hydrow

Cross training with an indoor rowing workout program is the perfect choice for runners. Proper rowing form activates different muscle groups which help protect joints, builds muscle endurance, increases strength, and restores balance to bodies who may be favoring one side over the other. The supportive and entertaining Hydrow Athlete instructors and Live Outdoor Reality™ workouts in beautiful waterways around the world, help keep you motivated. Hydrow is the perfect choice for both casual and competitive runners. Check out our current offers. We can’t wait to welcome you on the water with us!