That is always a question I ask myself after every season it seems. The last few years, the answer has been skewed towards being a better athlete.
I haven’t even come close to my running PB’s in years and I’m okay with that it seems. I’ve spent more time recently playing hockey, golf and doing yoga. I also haven’t trained much, simply being active to feed my mind and get the blood flowing. That helps with overall fitness and quality of life, which is more of a priority anyway for me.
I’ve recently picked up a gym membership to switch things up for the winter. I kinda had missed lifting weights. I’m just trying to jumpstart a different form of fitness. When I was doing Ironman, I usually stayed away from weights so I wouldn’t bulked up but I think my outlook was a bit outdated.
That’s one of the things that made me take up triathlon all those years ago. That sport forces you to cross-train even if it’s hitting the pool or spin classes/trainer begrudgingly in the winter. And don’t get me started on the kids who specialize in one sport in their early years…
In jury prevention is a huge part of my outlook these days, partly influenced by ChiRunning. Doing different sports (and thus using different muscles) is a big part of that as studies show. Working on flexibility and your other physical limitations are also part of the equation.
I always get asked how you can become a better runner. I usually say to run more, especially for beginners. But then I suggest yoga and other fitness methods, especially if you already have a good base. Even the pros don’t just “run” all day everyday. A lot of their weeks are spent in the pool, on a mat or seeing an athletic therapist.
So ask yourself what your goals are for next season. I think becoming a better athlete can help you become a better runner but I’m not sure if the reverse is true. Food for thought…