As you all know I’ve been blabber on about incorporating strength training into my workouts. So far there has been a lot of talk and little action. Well, now that I’m not in the midst of a training season or a nasty work schedule (knock on wood) I’ve run fresh out of excuses. SOOOO, to start things out, here is a pretty nice little article on the importance of strength training from Runner’s World. There are links to useful follow-up articles through out (making all of our lives easier 🙂
Strength training is a supplement to a runner’s roadwork because it strengthens muscles and joints, which can improve race times and decrease injury risk.
If you want to perform at your full potential, you need to take a comprehensive approach to your running. That means targeting areas of fitness you may not normally pay attention to, like flexibility, balance, mobility, and strength. Studies have shown that strength training can improve body composition by helping you maintain or increase your lean body mass and can decrease your percentage of body fat, helping you look leaner and burn additional calories.
Not sure where you stand? Take our tests to find out how fit you are.
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Incorporate strength training into your running regimen
- Head to the gym, but be sure to avoid common weight-lifting mistakes.
So I am personally NOT a fan of the gym. I would much rather use some free weigths at home to supplement body weight and resitance bands for strength training. But, to each their own. If you do fancy the gym, also do avoid these weight-lifting mistakes.
- Take a class if you’re unsure about how to strength train on your own.
See above comment. The same applies to classes for me. I’d rather read on my own and talk to someone personally than shackle myself to a class.
- Adopt a flexibility- and strength-building routine by practicing Pilates, yoga, or the newly popular Gyrotonics.
I have done a bit of yoga and really liked it, but don’t have it as part of my current training regime for logisitcal difficulties of attending a class (and my lack of personal ability to fly yoga-solo). Pilates, no thank you. Gyotonics, WTF? But again, to each their own…
- Go outdoors for a circuit training loop to strength train.
- Integrate cross-training into your workout routine to build strength and flexibility in muscles that running doesn’t utilize and prevent injury. Try cycling or swimming to improve strength and flexibility.
YES!! While I
don’t can’t swim, I love biking. I haven’t done nearly enough of this recently and need to get back on/off (which one is it?) the wagon. I suppose I should also learn how to swim.
- Say goodbye to long runs and introduce a high-intensity, low-volume training plan to your routine.
Say goodbye to the long run?!?! WHAT? IMHO this is absolute garbage advise!! I’d say keep the long run and ditch another mid-distance run for some high-intensity, low-volume running. Or, alternate week for the long run and H-I, L-V workouts. But to ditch the long run? Put down the crack pipe!
- Improve your balance and stability to stregthen weak muscles and reform your running.
Gain total body strength. Multiple studies show that regular strength training can improve running economy-how efficiently the body uses oxygen-by as much as eight percent, translating into greater speed and more muscle endurance. And it makes sense for runners to focus on their most important body part—their legs.
Try these workouts to strengthen your lower body:
Not the area that I personally need to focus on first, but obviously not a bad area for a runner to spend some time.
But strong legs require a solid foundation. When you run, your abdominal and back muscles fire to stabilize your spine. Strengthening your core will help your legs also grow stronger.
YES!! Well, kind of. Yes = necessary (but painful) for me.
Try these workouts for a stronger core:
I need to rotate all of these into the mix, with an emphasis on the core, back and abs. Ready, set, go!
The best distance athletes don’t just have impressive quads and glutes. They have muscular arms and shoulders that help them maintain speed throughout their races.
Try these workouts for a stronger upper body:
- Build upper body strength to run better
- Win the arms race
Yes! And this one is going to be fun for me. I’ve natrually had a pretty easy time building and maintaining arm strength. This sounds like a good place to start!
Do a little of everything:
For a workout plan that incorporates all three muscle groups, try our Get-Strong Plan for a total body strengthening regiment.
Not a bad idea at all.
Just don’t forget the importance of rest and recovery. If you occasionally take a break from training while still maintaining fitness, you will come back a stronger runner.
Yes and yes. Rest and recovery are absolutely essential. (In all seriousness….)
Ok, so personally, I will start by focusing on my core, back, abs and arms. My plan is to construct a running schedule that works strengthing all of these areas in with long, H-I L-V and recovery runs.
Stay tuned because there will be more riviting details to follow as finally get my act together!