Answered By ian dobson
Is it better to do other sports along with running to get some cross training, or to just focus specifically on running? What will help me to become a better runner?
This is a really good question and you'll probably get a lot of different answers if you ask different people. My opinion is that the answer depends on a lot of different things. First, it depends on how old you are; I think a young runner who's still growing and isn't sure if running is really his thing should participate in lots of different sports. It also depends on how much running your body can handle. Some people are prone to getting injuries could probably really benefit from cross training as a way to stay healthy. But even if you're a serious runner and you don't have injury problems I think cross training can be a good thing. Before I go any further, I should say that cross training doesn't mean playing sports like basketball or football, where you're more likely to get hurt than to improve your running. Aerobic sports (like cycling, swimming, nordic skiing, etc.) are going to be a lot more effective for a runner. I like to replace two or three secondary runs a week with cross training. I usually bike or swim, but in the winter I like to ski as well. I want cross training to complement running, not replace it, so I always run in the morning when my team does our primary run or workout. But a few times a week, instead of running an easy half hour in the afternoon, I'll cross train. I think it helps me maintain general fitness and athleticism that I feel like I start to lose if I just run. The bottom line is that to be a good runner you have to run a lot and train hard, but I do think cross training can complement a good running schedule as long as you don't over do it.