Cross-Training can benefit your running, especially in the base and build periods of a training plan. You'll find in the peak and taper phases, you'll have less time and energy to cross-train, but it can still help keep you strong and fit.
It includes anything from swimming (my favorite) and biking to rowing, stairmaster (my 2nd favorite), elliptical and more. We cross-train to improve our total body strength and flexibility. Running causes some muscle imbalances that you may or may not be aware of and cross-training helps correct these and prevent injury.
Incorporate cross-training to keep your exercise routine fresh. Swimming is a full-body workout with zero-impact, improving your cardio-respiratory system by imitating that oxygen-deprived state. Biking is a perfect complement by strengthening quads to reduce the risk of knee pain, one of the most common injuries. Maybe even sign up for a triathlon! And bonus if it includes an escape swim from Alcatraz in San Francisco!