Strength Training For Runners
Want to get STRONGER, FASTER and MORE EFFICIENT?
If YES then strength training is what you need!!!
Alex Pattinson (FdSc, BSc)
Weight training and running can quite often seem to be incompatible as weight training is all too often linked to weight gain with the increase of muscle mass.
In some cases, this might be true. But that’s all down to the type of weight training that you do.
Runners need strengthand conditioning more than you think.
For runners ‘strength training achieves 3 main goals’:
- It prevents injuries by strengthening the muscles, joints and connective tissues.
- It improves running speed by way of improving neuromuscular coordination, and power through the recruitment or more muscle fibres.
- It improves stride efficiency, balance and coordination.
As a runner, your strength training should be tailored to an increase in power and not mass. Training therefore should be performed 1-2 times per week with a focus on compound movements such as lunge, squat and hinge lifts. Alongside this the hips and lower back should be a focus for strength work, as these are more often than not shown to be areas of weakness in runners.
So, the main goal of any gym workout for runners should be strength and power.
Runners should avoid increasing the volume of cardio work performed as this can be detrimental to muscle strength. Instead runner should look to continue their current volume
of running training and should look to include additional strength training sessions to their programme. These sessions should focus on relatively heavy weight for a medium number of repetitions allowing for full recovery between sets.
Numerous studies in to strength training have shown a resultant boost in to the performance of runners and so is undertaken by all elite runners, including the likes of Mo Farrah and Usain Bolt.
Mo Farrah uses Olympic lifting to strengthen his ATP-PC system which is primarily trained by lifting heavy weights. This system is the perfect backup for when the body’s other energy systems can’t quite hack it…
When you as a runner need to increase speed, or need an additional strength boost in order to hold form it is this system that delivers the power needed.