Frankly I have never been a fan of the term cross training or the concept. I have seen it used too often as just another way to get tired. By definition Cross Training “… is when an athlete undertakes training in a discipline other than their main sport for the sole purpose of enhancing performance in their primary event.” (Hawley & Burke P. 31) It has been primarily used as a method for retaining training adaptations. What we are really talking about here is transfer of training effect.
It has been my experience that those who utilize cross training the most are those who already have a tendency to chronically overwork and are looking for another way to punish themselves. I feel that this is another training myth that detracts from sound training. It certainly has very little foundation is sports science research. For a runner to get in the pool for anything more than a recovery session is time ill spent. The same is true for biking, that time would be better spent strength training or working on flexibility, both areas that tend to be ignored. Most of the time they are ignored because the runner feels they do not have enough time to fit it in. Yet those same runners can find the time to swim for thirty minutes or bike for an hour. It is all a matter of priorities. Cross training may be OK for the recreational athlete seeking to relive the boredom of training, but for the high-level athlete it is virtually useless. “Specific exercise elicits specific adaptations, creating specific training effects.” (McArdle, Katch & Katch P.394). Less we forget, you are what you train to be.