Strength training and running are three words you don’t often see together and that needs to change. It is with great sadness that every year I witness all levels of runners getting injured while training for the London Marathon. The injuries occurring are unfortunately common but there is some great news…a lot are also avoidable.
16 week plans get downloaded/drawn up and people lace up and go. Then normally within six-nine weeks an injury occurs, a tweak, a strain, a tear or occasionally something worse. Sounding a little familiar to some? A lot of people will argue that they include body weight exercises and core work. Although this is better than nothing, it’s generally not enough to take your muscles to overload to build enough strength to injury proof yourself.
The benefits of strength training for runners include:
- Stronger muscles
- Stronger tendons
- Improved running efficiency
- Improved running economy
- The ability to deal with lactate
I am confident no one would look at the above list and say “no that’s not for me”. So instead of fitting in another run each week, your running would benefit from completing a full body strength session one-two times a week. We all look for ways we can improve performance but often skip over the simplest methods.
When planning out strength training and time is already precious to you, you want to think “biggest bang for my buck”. Essentially less exercises but same training effect as more. Large compound multi joint movements such as squats, pull ups, lunges, press ups, hip thrusts, dips. Those 6 example exercises all involve more than 1 joint, will improve overall muscle structure, balance and co-ordination and help set you up to be a stronger and more efficient runner.
Do yourself a favor during this year and start focus on building strength.