Blog Post by Brendan Ashcroft.
Whether you are an Olympic level runner or someone who wants to start going for a long slow run on the weekend before rewarding yourself with a warm latte at your favourite café, strength training is an important facet of running and here’s why:
- Injury Prevention
Strength training strangely enough helps to strengthen the muscles, connective tissue, and stabilizing mechanisms especially in the lower limbs so that your joints and bones can withstand the repetitive high forces that running can impart on them
- Improved Running Performance
Incorporating some strength training into your week you will start to increase your power, force output, and lean muscle mass all of which contribute to faster running times
- Improved Running Economy
Not only are you now putting out more force onto the track, strength training also improves your running economy/efficiency by strengthening the core and lower body which in turn improves your posture, allowing you to still maintain correct running form in those last few kilometres before the finish line (or the coffee table).
Feel like on top of your running sessions you don’t have time to do any strength training? Don’t fret, around 15-20 minutes of strength work, 2-3 times a week (one session could even be before a light running session!) will help to prevent injury and improve your running. Here are some easy body weight exercises you can do to help your running:
A fantastic exercise that targets glutes, hamstrings, quads, core and can help stabilize and support the knee.
The plank is a great isometric exercise that builds strength in the core, helping you to maintain a strong posture and improve your running efficiency as you start to fatigue
Lunges will work similar muscles to the squat however you are reducing your base of support. As a result your muscles will work harder to stabilize your joints and body, improving balance and overall reducing risk of instability-related injuries
I hear you. Why, if we’re talking about running would I need to do a pushup? If you’ve ever tried running without moving your arms, you know how important your upper body is when running. By building strength in the chest, shoulders, and back (which the pushup does) you can improve your running economy and power output.
Once again no matter what level runner you are, we all want to improve performance. To do this we need to stay injury free whilst becoming stronger and more efficient, all achievable through with regular strength training!
Bebeley, S. J., Yi-Gang, W., & Yang, L. (2016). Athletes’ Knowledge about Preventing Sports Injuries like: Achilles Tendinitis (AT), Runner’s Knee (RK)/Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) and Shin Splints (SS), as Prime Prevention Strategies in Slowing Ageing Process. Journal of Exercise Science and Physiotherapy, 12(1), 25-37.
James, S. (1978). “Injuries to Runners” j.