There’s tons of fitness articles and podcasts on the market explaining the benefits of cross-training; I am definitely one of those people that sing a variation of praises about it too. My name is Latoya Shauntay Snell — a multisport athlete, content creator and founder of food and fitness blog Running Fat Chef. I have been a Global Athlete Ambassador for HOKA since 2019. Since 2014 I’ve completed close to 200 running and obstacle course racing events, including 5 ultramarathons and around 25 marathons. An immense amount of credit goes towards incorporating cross training into my regimen.

📸ESnellDesign
📸 ESnellDesign

Cross-training is a mixture of athletic training in a different sector of fitness outside of your primary sport. A great usage of cross-training for me as a road marathoner and ultrarunner is incorporating activities like swimming, cycling, strength training, hiking and plyometrics. During my off season, I love to powerlift. Over the last decade I was diagnosed with a cluster of invisible conditions ranging from endometriosis, fibromyalgia and several conditions affecting my spine, back and reproductive system. Although it is a bit frustrating to work around these circumstances at times, I don’t allow them to define me.

📸ESnellDesign
📸 ESnellDesign

Cross-training affords me an opportunity to supplement some hours that I’d typically apply to the pavement in a different way. For instance, while going through a medical procedure that required for me to pull back some of my mileage, I supplemented a few of my short runs with indoor cycling at moderate intensity on my trainer and swimming. Through that experience, it opened up a new passion to look into the luminous world of triathlon. Last August, my cross-training efforts paid off in a grand way when I finished my first triathlon — The 2020 New York City Triathlon virtual international distance. When I train for ultramarathon events, I tend to hit a mental wall after week 10 from back-to-back long runs. I expressed this fatigue to my coaches and was suggested to pull back on mileage. Together, we weaved a blended fitness schedule for a few weeks that afforded me time to do something different once weekly in place of a shorter run to help me stay on course.

📸ESnellDesign
📸 ESnellDesign

Recently I had the great opportunity to test out the HOKA Kawana and they worked out great on my feet. If you watch enough of my Instagram stories and reels, you’ll know that I love doing activities with my slam ball and plyometric activities like box jumps — both of which worked out brilliantly with these sneakers. I love the shape of the sneaker around my feet, as they feel sturdy and versatile enough to shift from my circuit training routine to a brisk run. The design of the sneaker is smart and color transition is versatile enough for my love of bright colored athleisure wear. Having these sneakers in my collection is an absolute win.

📸ESnellDesign
📸 ESnellDesign

If you’re not so enthused or psyched up about incorporating cross-training into your fitness routine, I hope that you consider all of the fun and helpful benefits that it offers. For starters, you don’t have to limit yourself to one activity. When I’m looking for an activity that relieves pressure from my spine and affords me an opportunity to focus on my breathing, I love doing 400 to 800 meters of freestyle swimming at my local pool. Other times, I weave in a full body stretch by incorporating a bit of yoga into my routine. Although I consider this more of a spiritual practice in my daily life, there are loads of incredible physical benefits while breathing deep into a handful of asanas. Although we’re in the heart of the colder times of the year, it will not keep us down. If you’re not into winter sports like skiing or snowboarding, consider dusting off your rower, elliptical or indoor cycling trainer to aid with your cardiovascular health. Incorporating in strength work once or twice a week aid in area like your glutes, core and shoulders. A great deal of studies show the benefits of strength training helping runners. Remember, cross-training is not meant to replace your primary sport; it enhances your ability to achieve your fitness goals — whatever they may be.

📸ESnellDesign
📸 ESnellDesign

This year, I’ll be using my HOKA Kawana to take me great distances — on and off the pavement. Hope to see you out there with me.