Strength training is important for runners because it helps reduce injury by strengthening connective tissues, muscles, and bones. It also improves your coordination and stability to improve running form and efficiency.
What is Strength Training? Strength training is the performance of different exercises to increase our muscle’s strength and endurance. Strength training also strengthens ligaments and tendons, and it increases bone density.
It is encouraged that you include strength training in your weekly workout schedule. This can be done once per week as part of your cross-training workouts. You should do a strength workout after an easy mid-week run or on a separate day. It is not suggested to do a strength workout the day before a long run or an intense run effort to allow your body the rest it needs and in case of any delayed muscle soreness.
Strength workouts can be done from home, at a park, or in the gym. Items you may need but are optional based on experience level are bands, dumbbells, a yoga mat, and a chair for stability. When starting any type of exercise program, especially strength training, you should consult with your doctor first. Start any program off easy and work your way up gradually, just like running. Start off with bodyweight exercises and low repetitions. As you get stronger, you can increase weight, the number of sets, and the number of reps. Since most of us are training for endurance running, it is advised to stick with body weight or light weight exercises with a higher repetition range that is between 12-15reps. This will help build endurance in the muscles we will use for marathon running. If you feel any pain or discomfort during a strength exercise, stop immediately. If you are having difficulty knowing which exercises are best for running or your specific goals, it is best to talk with a coach, personal trainer, or physical therapist.
Some strength exercises that are perfect for runners and building their lower body and core strength are
- Reverse Lunges
- Glute Bridge/Hip Thrusts
- Quadrupled Kick Backs
- Bird Dog
- Standing Ab March
For rep and set ranges, as well as detailed instructions on how to do these exercises and modifications, please reference our Strength Training for Runners Video that will be available in the member’s section of the L.A. Leggers website soon.