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Strength training is an incredible tool to help you become a stronger, faster, and injury resistant runner. But when not done properly, strength training can also wreck your legs and impact your running workouts or races.
In this episode, we take you inside our thoughts on the matter and share our tips to help you integrate strength training into your running program. We’ll show you why it is important, and how to add it to your program in a way it doesn’t overwhelm your body.
As runners, we want to focus on a multi-faceted, integrative strength training program. Often runners will build their exercise sets using more traditional bodybuilding style exercises. With our PaceBuilders clients, we stay away from bodybuilding and focus on functional strength, mobility, flexibility, quickness, balance, and stability. Bodybuilding is typically about increasing muscle size and that does not necessarily translate into the type of strength that runners need. Runners need the strength that best matches the natural movement of the human body when running or doing other types of full-body exercises. Bodybuilding is typically focused on muscle isolation.
The biggest challenge we have found with runners is making time to do strength training or we find they are doing the wrong things. While something is usually better than nothing, this lack of consistency, or doing the wrong thing often fails to achieve the results the runner has set out to achieve. Most of us are time restricted so we want to know what is the best use of our time.
We can help with that, and provide specific exercises based on your situation, your areas of weakness, or just help you get started.
Balancing strength training with running is also a challenge. With strength training, we tend to scale it up and down based on a runner’s training cycle. For example, we do more in the off season, and less during the season, especially during periods of peak mileage or taper. We DO like to see 1-2 days a week for most training weeks, with each workout day consisting of a full body workout. If a runner we are working with is focused on weight loss or weight management vs. race performance, we usually will increase strength training to at least two days, and in some cases, three. It just depends on the runner and whether or not we are mixing up our workouts with other forms of training, specifically speed workouts or HIIT training. If so, we may keep the runner at two days per week.
So, that is how we do it and what we would recommend for most recreational runners. Factors like age, genetics, injury risk, level of fitness, overall health, ability to train, the level of goals they wish to obtain with their running and so on, all have a part in our decision and if you build your strength training plan, you should consider those as well.
We go into a lot more depth inside the podcast episode, so we hope you will check it out and subscribe on any of the popular podcasts directories.
Thanks and Happy Running!
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