Jul20Run Strong: Strength Training Tips For Runners

– This is a post from Coach Chantra at the H4 location in Geneva. He’s an avid runner, so he’s here today to help up your running game.

I love running. I run everyday, and I thoroughly enjoy hitting feet to pavement.

Even though I run everyday it doesn’t mean I neglect some good ol’ strength work. I commit some resistance training each week to enhance my running, and just because it’s good for you. But I know many runners who neglect strength work, partly because they can’t seem to manage the workload well, and partly because they think they don’t need it. The thing is, it is very possible to manage both endurance running and strength training, and you should; life isn’t one dimensional, so why should your training be?

Why You Need Strength if You Run

Many runners will neglect strength work, and it’s hurting them. Either by way of injury, or by lack of performance. It is known combining both strength training and endurance running can alter the individual to be stronger, more powerful, and maintain a better quality of life through their life span (1). Even if we’re not aiming for sporting excellence – we can still achieve a higher standard of life for ourselves.

The best runners in the game know that dedicated strength work – even just 2-3 times a week – can ward against injury, improve running economy (2), and keep you in the sport longer. Another benefit is that strength training improves rate of force development (3), which is basically science jargon for explosive power. What athlete doesn’t need more power? Plus you’ll build more muscle, which is never a downside.

How To Program It

So we know some benefits, but what are some good examples of programming? Well easier said then done, but start slow! No, seriously, start slow. Consider where you are in your training cycle — reduce both your running and strength-training volume so you can begin priming yourself for both. This may mean start from the ground up – incrementally increase your distance like reps, but also strength increases will need shortened rest periods. Have at most two strength training sessions a week, total body; featuring both strength and auxiliary lifts, but research and understand why you chose those exercises to help you.

An example of how it may look:

  • Monday – full body strength work
  • Tuesday – moderate pace/distance run
  • Wednesday – recovery work (yoga, stretching, light run, etc.)
  • Thursday – full body strength work
  • Friday – faster pace/longer distance run
  • Sat/Sun – pick one day on the weekend and do some light, low-impact cardiovascular activity.

Over time, you could increase the strength work to 3 times a week or the run sessions. It all depends on your goals, and what you wan tot focus on. As stated above, make sure that you know why you are doing certain exercises. If your goal is to improve your running, make sure that the strength work reflects that. For runners, throwing in plenty of single leg movements like lunges and single leg deadlifts will improve many aspects of running. Also performing some anti-rotational movements like pallof circles.

For some examples of good full body workouts, you can check out our YouTube channel by clicking here.

Closing Thoughts

No matter how you go about it, adding in some strength work can enhance your running immensely. By simply adding in 2-3 strength sessions per week, your body feel better and will thank you for it, and you’ll stay in the running game longer. It’s also important to ease into combining both running and strength training. Know your limits, and increase gradually; be easy with yourself.

You know your body – so train accordingly.

 

Sources

  1. Visser M, Goodpaster BH, Kritchevsky SB, Newman AB, Nevitt M, Rubin SM, Simonsick EM, Harris TB. 2005. Muscle mass, muscle strength, and muscle fat infiltration as predictors of incident mobility limitations in well-functioning older persons. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 60: 324–333.
  2. Sunde A, Støren Ø, Bjerkaas M, Larsen MH, Hoff J, Helgerud J. 2010. Maximal strength training improves cycling economy in competitive cyclists. J Strength Cond Res 24: 2157–2165
  3. Aagaard P, Andersen JL. 2010. Effects of strength training on endurance capacity in top-level endurance athletes. Scand J Med Sci Sports 20: 39–47.