There are lots of reasons that not all runners incorporate strength training into their running regimes. Some don’t feel comfortable training in a gym, as it’s not what they are used to, others think it’s something only injury-prone runners need to consider, while many just don’t fully understand the benefits.
We’ll if you’re not a seasoned, all-weather, all terrain distance runner, why the heck would you?
If we do choose to run, many of us (Perform founder Peter included) are fair weather runners. It’s something we enjoy when the nights get lighter and temperatures start rising. We might be training for a spring or summer race for charity (or even for fun), or just to get a little bit more cardio in while we can.
However, being a hobby runner doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits of introducing strength training. As some members of our Perform Fitness Family ramp up preparations for the Spring 10k in May, to raise money for our chosen charity, Amputation Foundation, we thought that now was a good time to take a look at just why strength training is important for runners of all abilities
Strength Training and Running: The Benefits
1 – It helps to prevent injuries
Strength training strengthens muscles and connective tissues, particularly in the core and lower body, that are used heavily when we run.
2 – It stops you getting tired so easily
By working against resistance in strength training, your muscles become stronger, which in turn increases your power and endurance. The result? You run for longer before you get tired
3 – It helps you to run faster
Strength or ‘resistance’ training puts additional stress on your whole body as you work on each area, increasing your ability to withstand the extra load. Over time, the muscles in your leg will become stronger and allow you to generate more power with every step, increasing your speed. Work on your upper body and stronger arms and shoulders will help you to power forward faster too.
4 – It counters muscular imbalances
Running is a ‘one directional’ activity, which simply means that it works the same set of muscles more than another. This can naturally create the imbalances that cause common complaints like runner’s knee and shin splints. These can easily be corrected by using strength training to even these imbalances out, relieving existing issues and preventing new ones
5 – It burns more calories
Running is great for losing weight for the first few months, especially if it’s the first time you’ve ran for a while. However, the initial ‘shock’ to the system wears off and once your body is used to your regular, unchanged running regime, the calorie burn will slow down. Adding strength training will mix up your routine, increase your lean muscle mass and keep those calories burning!
6 – It creates a solid foundation
A strong core is essential for running, as it is you abs and back muscles have to stabilise you spin. A strong core means better support for your spine and stronger legs for power.
The best news about adding strength training to your running training is that it doesn’t have to take up too much time. Two or three 45-minute sessions each week will have a significant impact.
You can read about how we helped one Perform Fitness Family member prepare for his first marathon here.
If you’re a runner and want to work strength training into your running routine, why not contact the Perform team today and find out more?