For runners, strength training is paramount to good performance. Many people mistakenly assume that runners only need to focus on cardiovascular endurance and stretching, but this is not the case. It’s equally important that they develop and maintain strong muscles.
Why Runners Need to Strength Train
As a runner, what would you say the key to increasing endurance is? In the past, running was touted as the key to better performance. However, “Doing more running training to improve running often leads to injury because the running does not make muscles stronger; its main benefits are in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems,” stated Runner’s World.
When a non-runner starts running, strength is certainly gained as the body builds the necessary muscular strength for regular running. However, after a certain point, no more muscle is built from merely running. That’s why runners need to strength train.
Strength Training Tips for Runners
In order to increase cardiovascular endurance, a runner must strength train. Running alone will not accomplish this. Here are four strength training tips for runners:
1) Start small — When it comes to strength training for runners, more is definitely not better. If you are new to strength training, start small and go slowly. The last thing you want is to injure yourself and keep yourself from doing what you love most: running.
2) Pay attention to pain — Remember when you first started running? Chances are that some days you experienced pain. Hopefully, you heeded those signals from your body and took a day or two of rest when needed. Weight training for runners is no different. When you feel you’ve overextended yourself even slightly, back off and let yourself recover. This is another surefire way to prevent injury and promote quicker gains in performance.
3) Balance your workouts — Should you avoid running on days you strength train? No, not necessarily. It depends upon the intensity of the workouts. “When done concurrently, the potential gains of strength and endurance training do not cancel each other out. However, heavy resistance training reduces exercise potential for high-intensity running in the same day, while you can do less-than-maximal strength and endurance workouts on the same day,” wrote a contributor to Trail Runner Magazine.
4) Get help — Are you unsure of how to get started with strength training for runners? If so, consider working with a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists don’t just work with people who are injured. They are also trained to help athletes and runners perform well. A physiotherapist can help you get started with a strength training program that’s perfect for you. A bonus is that you’ll have a guide to show you exactly how to perform the exercises in your new regime.
Are You a Runner Who Needs to Strength Train?
A runner who is struggling to perform better should not leave strength training out of his or her routine. Do you need to start strength training?