Summer is here, and it’s time to get outside.  Allow those treadmills and elliptical machines a well-deserved break, if only for three months’ time.

As a runner, especially in the Pacific Northwest, there’s no better time to get out in nature. However, don’t give up that gym membership just yet. Here are three reasons to spend some time indoors:

1)  Cross training: The benefits of cross training are many (see here for five specific ones). Now I know, as a runner, you immediately think of biking or swimming as cross training — and both you can also do outdoors (YAY!). But in both biking and swimming (for the most part) you move in the same plane of motion. That means you work the same muscles, over, and over (and over) again. This summer, challenge yourself and try something new — bootcamp, yoga, TRX or even zumba. Explore all planes of motion and activate muscles you never knew existed.

2)  Strength training and stability work: Both of these can be considered cross training, but I’m going to suggest they stand alone. Many injuries occur because we have a weak core (think back, glutes and hips, as well as abs). We sit all day and smash our hamstrings, overuse our hip flexors, calves and little pinky toes. Get into the gym and do some strength training. Learn proper dead-lift and squat techniques. Play with kettlebells, bosu balls and those trx bands. Do some agility work in class and practice box jumps, all while engaging your core.  Begin to work it into your daily routine, and play with how you can work it into every run.

3)  Accountability: Ever intended to do stairs, squats or incorporate some plyometrics into your run, and then did one set of stairs or squats and decided to move on? “Later,” you tell yourself. And then, low and behold, the run is done and those exercises become “next time.” Give next time a break and build in some accountability. Work with a trainer, take some classes or recruit a friend to keep you on track.

For these reasons, and more, you might keep that membership handy. Do the work indoors to take your run outdoors uninjured, strong and free!