How to Fit Cross Training into your Spring Marathon Training 

Have you picked your spring Marathon or half marathon already (hello NYC 1/2, Boston, and so much more!) Training for any endurance event is a huge time suck but, fitting in your choice of cross training can have some huge benefits on your finish time, preventing injury and so much more. Pilates specifically has some huge benefits for runners (think hip extension and opening, glute strengthening, strengthening abductors and adductors, ankle mobility, posture and core strength). Pilates is my preferred choice of cross training for many reasons as it is a safe workout and there is almost no risk of injury during the workout.

Although it’s hard fit a Pilates routine once you start running 4-5x a week, it’s totally possible. When I was training for my recent marathon (Chicago 2017), I managed to fit in a Pilates private session once a week, and then mat Pilates and Yoga at least one other time a week. Think of a Pilates class as more than just training your body – you’re also training your mind. Classes and other workouts will help keep you motivated and your body feeling strong.

Here are a few tips on how to fit Pilates into your routine:

  1. Make your training plan fit your lifestyle

If you aren’t training with a coach and are using an online plan, don’t think that they’re all one size fits all. Expect there to be changes and be flexible! You don’t have to do every workout on that exact day. Do try to get in all the workouts with a heavy focus on the long runs. Once you put less pressure on yourself to execute the plan perfectly, you’ll see that there is more room to fit in your Pilates class once a week.

2. Plan ahead

Marathon training takes hard work.. and a lot of planning. Whether it’s nutrition (and figuring out exactly when and what you’re taking on race day) or gear (what shoes are you wearing? body glide? kit?), each week takes planning. Sit down at the start of each week and schedule in your runs and workouts to make sure they happen.

3. Pick one form of cross training

This isn’t the season for you to experiment and figure out what works for you. Hopefully you’ve used your off season to find a form of cross training that really works. For me, I know that Pilates works for so many reasons. It’s my optimal form of cross training. Once you find something that works and see the benefits, stick with it and commit to doing it at least once a week. If you can get two sessions in of cross training- great! But, realistically, life gets in the way.


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