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Cross training is useful for recovery but also to keep fit in the event of an injury. After an intense Season dedicated to Trail Running, you need a period of physical and mental recovery in which it is useful to alternate running with other complementary sports.

Cross training works on several aspects: physical stimuli that train different abilities improving your weaknesses, maintaining physical fitness in the absence of risk of microtraumas and recovery of mental energies. Last but not least, cross-training, if organized with high-intensity sessions, can also contribute to the improvement of your VO2 max and lactate threshold.

The choice of sports for cross training is based on the characteristics and level of the athlete. All workouts must be included within a plan developed in line with the objectives and always in harmony with the athletic gesture of trail running. Obviously, every cross training plan must be customized. We will limit ourselves to giving general advice an examples without going into deep details of all possible training sessions in terms of repetitions and duration.

The main sports suggested by the TRM Coaches

SKI TOURING. It allows good muscular training and, if performed at a certain intensity, maintaining a high heart rate, will work very well challenging your cardiovascular system.

Type of suggested workouts:

  • Long training 2-3h at medium-low intensity with limited elevation gain, to train on endurance
  • Uphill reps average gradient, i.e. 5-6 reps of 4’-5’ at threshold intensity with 2′-2’30” of recovery time at low intensity, to improve the anaerobic threshold
  • Blocks of short reps steep climb, i.e. 4-5 blocks of 4-5 reps x 50″-1″, recovering 1′ at low intensity, to work on aerobic power.

CROSS COUNTRY SKIING. It is a powerful cardio activity, oxygenates the blood, guarantees the maintenance of cardiovascular health, strengthens the musculoskeletal system, improves coordination skills.

Type of recommended workouts:

  1. Endurance sessions, 20km-50km long laps
  2. HIIT (High intensity interval training)

SNOWSHOEING Training with snowshoes requires more muscular effort than normal walking and will maintain quiet constant your aerobic effort. Furthermore, if the activity is carried out in fresh snow, it allows you to work on the strengthening of quadriceps and knees that are continuously raised towards the waist.

Type of recommended workouts:

  • Long tours of more than 3 hours on land with different slopes and asperities

Bike. It facilitates the recovery phase and muscular work of the lower limbs in the absence of impact shock. The problem, it shortens the muscle, so it is advisable, at the end of the session, to perform 15-20min running and a stretching session.

Type of recommended workouts:

  • Long climbs, i.e. 10km, to work on increasing legs strength.
  • Sprint at intervals of time, i.e. 10-15 x 30”-1” during an 1h15-1h30 session, cycling at a high rate, to get a good aerobic workout.
  • Long ride, i.e. more than 50km, on flat terrain to improve your endurance.

Swimming. Because swimming is a low-impact activity, it is often used as recovery training between races. But there are also some quality workouts that can work on intensity, therefore they will have a greater incidence on your cardiovascular system, and other specific sessions for strengthening the lower limbs.

Type of recommended workouts:

  • Long-term swimming > 40min with recovery and resistance function
  • High-intensity interval training, using a buoyancy belt, i.e. 2 blocks of 5 x 1’-2 ’ Fast with a recovery time of ’ at low intensity
  • Swimming holding a tablet with your hands and using only your legs, 20-40 laps, for strengthening the legs.


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Cristina Tasselli

Digital Strategic Marketing Director - certified Innovation Manager - in multinational companies, she is still today the only Italian female athlete to have ran 900 km and 55,000m D+ in the mountains in a single stage race (Transpyrenea 2016, 3rd women overall). She counts numerous Podiums and international Victories on races over 100k. She holds a SNaQ CONI certification as a Trail Running Coach, Athletic Trainer and in Nutrition and Sports Supplementation. Since 2014 she is President and sports executive of innovative technology startups and companies, including Trail Running Movement and Digital Sport 360. She trains elite trail running athletes and she teaches in trail running coach certification courses. She is an author of sports articles on training, nutrition and supplementation in trail running and running, both in Italian and in English and Spanish. She manages relationships and collaborations with Federations and Race Organizers.