Cross training for first marathon?

I am hoping to do my first marathon in Feb 13.

I have done a few halfs and do 50 miles a week regullarly.

I have just had a month off with runners knee and need to know how to start up marathon training correctly

according to sports injury specialist i have no core strength as i have only been running not gym or cycling etd

can anyone reccomend a more balanced approach to the next few months so i dont end up with runners knee




  • Cycling will do nothing at all for your core strength, and or the stability of your knee. For that sort of thing, you really ought to be in a gym at least twice a week. Knee stability comes from strengthening the muscles that move the joint. So focusing on single leg variations on movements like squats and deadlifts will definitely help. Concentrate on rock solid form.

    Unfortunately I can't give you any advice re marathon training as I haven't done one.

  • I mix my marathon training with boxing and I have found it to be a good combo. There is a lot of training for the core and legs in boxing.

  • In my opinion: Core, yes. Legs, not really. No amount of boxing will give you the leg/hip/knee function, strength and power like being able to back squat twice your bodyweight.

  • I'd actually go so far as to say that a solid back squat and deadlift will challenge the core a lot more than boxing would... though I wouldn't like to volenteer to test the theory! image

  • SOD You´re probably right about the back squat. However, the question is if you need to be THAT strong in the back for running? As Jackie have a weak core I think there may be a risk of injury if weights are involved. 

  • I like the rowing machine.  It does your arms, legs and torso... and cardio.  But that's personal preference.

  • Hi Jackie,

    I had runner's knee in 2009 so I know how annoying and painful it can be! For core  strength training I do Pilates twice a week and weights workout 3 times a week (squats & deadlifts play a big part in those). I really like kettlebells for strengthening the posterior chain, but try a few different workouts and see what works for you.

    Don't forget to stretch too! There are some good yoga for runners classes and books around, from which you put a good stretch routine together and do it every day - not just the days you are running.  

    love boxing but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to someone as a fix for recent knee problems as I found that getting used to the stance can be quite hard on the legs. Once you are confident that your knee is settled down then I see no reason not to give it a go!

  • I forgot to say, a lot of the time runners knee can be traced back to the glutes not working properly. Other muscles pick up the work that the glutes should be doing, and where you get dominant quads and lazy glutes, it can lead to tracking problems with the kneecap.

    So doing anything that activates your glutes will be good, even as simple as really trying to squeeze your glutes when you are walking, and when you are climbing stairs try to think about powering the movement with your glutes rather than your quads.

  • Cycling can help strengthen the muscles around the knee. And you use your core muscles for stability on the bike. A lot of pro cyclists do a lot of Pilates off season to strengthen their core.

    It'll also give your cardio system a good workout whilst avoiding the impact of running.
  • Pressups, Situps and squats. cycling will also help.

    I wouldnt worryabout other stuff.

  • Good advice by xine267.

    Dave, however, your advice would leave someone with posture issues becuase there is no pulling work (upper/lower back). also, sit ups do jack all for your core.

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