ASICS FrontRunner Linda Kinloch has several black belts behind her name in various martial art forms. It was the only training and sport she practiced before she took up running eight years ago and she believes it (and particularly kickboxing) paved the way for her to be a better runner. 

"I believe mixing your running with a few kickboxing classes will make you both stronger and faster," she says. We're not about to argue with that... Here are a few more reasons why she recommends it as part of the training regime of runners of all levels:

You can do it at home with, or without equipment
"We are living in really crazy times and unfortunately COVID has put a pause on our usual gym sessions."

It provides a full-body workout
You can expect a full-body workout that engages every muscle group in your body, with a strong focus on your core. The rapid movements in cardio kickboxing also improve flexibility, balance, coordination and can help you build faster reflexes. In addition, hitting or kicking a heavy bag requires some serious strength. You need tough muscles to conquer this hardcore workout, and that stands true for every muscle group including your shoulders, arms, back, abs, legs, and quads."

It's never boring
A typical kickboxing class will incorporate sit ups, push ups, planks, running and skipping. This will enable you to support your body while running and give you that extra push when you need it!"

It can help relieve stress
"Life can be pretty stressful, not to mention that daily events can cause anxiety and depression. I find I get great satisfaction out of hitting the bag and the high energy work out encourages the flow of endorphins which reduces anxiety. Punching bags, roundhouse kicks and knee strikes don't just reduce your stress level but also strengthens your heart muscles."

It will fit your busy schedule 
"If you can train two to three times a week for 45 min (to an hour) you will notice the difference in your running ability within weeks."

Well there you go! Give it a go as part of the cross-training element in your programme. For more inspiration, read Linda's blog, here.

*Featured image:  Jason Briscoe on Unsplash