I love running. It is my favorite form of exercise and what I usually choose to do. However, in order to become a better runner and stay injury free, it is very important to incorporate other workouts. Whether you are a 6 day a week runner looking to strengthen and stretch or a 3 day a week runner looking for some heart pumping cardio, I’ve got the best non-running workout for you.

If you want to recover from a long week of running, try…

Yoga. Yoga focuses on flexibility and strength, both of which will benefit any runner. Time spent stretching during yoga will decrease minor aches and pains (think tight glutes & IT bands) caused by running and allow for greater range of motion during runs. Yoga also works to strengthen your muscles, particularly your core. Having a strong core helps runners move more efficiently and with better form, which also helps prevent injury. My favorite yoga studios in Charlotte include Y2, Charlotte Yoga, and YogaOne (I prefer music during class so I attend PowerBeats). If spending $20+ a class isn’t in your budget, check out yoga classes offered at breweries for $10 or less. Some great options include Olde Mecklenburg Brewery at 6:30 PM on Tuesdays, Free Range Brewing at 6:30 PM on Thursdays, and Legion Brewing at 12:00 PM on Sundays. 

If you want a high intensity but low impact strength workout, try…

Coreology. This workout is performed on a mega-reformer machine, which is basically a Pilates reformer machine on steroids. The 50-minute class will work muscles you never even knew existed. It is great for runners because it is low impact and won’t harm your joints.  It is a very intense workout, but the upbeat environment and coaches make the classes fun and enjoyable. They have two studios, one located in Noda and one located at Lake Norman. Bonus: Your first class is only $5.

Post Injection Ortho 5K

Ortho 5K

If you want to cross-train instead of going for a run, try…

Spinning or Bootcamp. Spinning is a wonderful cross training workout to add to your weekly schedule. It works to build leg muscles which will help you become a stronger runner but without the pavement pounding impact running has. Flywheel, Cycle South, and Cycle Bar all offer fun, engaging classes that will get your heart rate up and your legs burning! Bootcamp classes are also wonderful for building muscle. An extra benefit to bootcamp classes is they work your upper body in addition to your core and lower body. Kadi in the Park offers free classes Monday and Friday at noon in First Ward Park. These workouts are different each week but they always get your heart pumping and body working.


When determining what workouts to incorporate into your weekly routine, keep in mind the intensity and amount of running you will be doing. If you are running 6 days a week and including high intensity runs such as track or tempo workouts, adding other high intensity workouts in may leave you feeling fatigued and prone to injury. However, runners averaging less miles and not as much speed work will greatly benefit from them. All of the workouts above will make you a better and stronger runner so remember to listen to your body and figure out what works best for YOU.

Happy Running Charlotte!

Vanessa is an avid runner and foodie with a love of eating whole, real food. Check out her blog, WHOLEFULLYHAPPY.COM, and Instagram HERE, for all things running, healthy eating, and the occasional picture of her adorable Australian shepherd.