Running and strength training seem at odds with each other – but actually, they complement one another perfectly.
Many runners fall into the trap of only running without any other exercises in their training.
There are many different components of athleticism – the building blocks of fitness. They include:
Which ones do you need to work on?
To be the best runner you can be, you need to develop every aspect of athleticism. They’re all intertwined and related; neglecting one means your entire fitness foundation is sitting on shaky ground.
Of course, many new runners feel lost when it comes to anything except running. Heading out for a run is easy – but scheduling strength workouts, flexibility routines, and even injury prevention exercises is daunting.
Have you ever asked yourself…
Should I do core exercises before or after my run? Do I do them on days I’m not running?
What exercises will help my constant achilles tendonitis?
How often should I do strength exercises when I’m training for a marathon?
Most runners succumb to analysis by paralysis – there’s so much information out there that they do the simplest thing: nothing!
Unfortunately, that’s not the most productive solution. Runners who invest in a PR Race Plan from me can see how certain routines are scheduled, which exercises help their injuries, and the frequency of the workouts.
But why exactly should you care about strength workouts? Indeed, as runners we just want to run!
Why Strength Train?
Building your general strength and overall athleticism allows you to run more and train harder without succumbing to the (seemingly) inevitable overuse injury. They’re your insurance policy against injury.
The premise of strength exercises for runners include:
- Runners are good at forward motion (like running straight ahead), but side to side (frontal plane) and rotational (transverse plane) motion are typically our weak areas. The right strength workouts increase our capabilities in these planes of motion so we can run more consistently with fewer injuries.
- Strength work increases your beneficial hormonal profile. You’ll produce more testosterone and human growth hormone (even for a woman, this is a very good thing!) which leads to faster recovery and better performances. Strength exercises are restorative and build strength, while running breaks you down.
So if you were a pro, you’d spend about an hour or more every day getting strong, flexible, and injury resistant.
Unfortunately, you probably don’t have unlimited time to train unless you’re a sponsored athlete. No worries – you can still get the majority of benefits from strength training in about 15-20 minutes per day.
You only need about ten minutes before and after every run to complete a dynamic warm-up and strength routine. Both can dramatically improve your overall athleticism and reduce your risk of injury.
In this interview with Jeff Gaudette of Runners Connect, I talk about the best ways to schedule strength training, what systems to avoid (like P90X), and how minimalism and strength training are related.
Jeff is a former professional runner who competed for the Hansons Brooks team. As an Olympic Trials Qualifier in both the marathon and 10k (as well as a 4:04 miler!), he knows his stuff and it was a pleasure chatting about running.
The Importance of Systems
It seems that strength exercises are the first thing that runners skip if they’re pressed for time. But systems ensure that you get in your training, are held accountable, and continue getting faster.
Here are a few examples of successful systems:
- Following a proven training program (that you’ve paid for to increase your chances of completing it)
- Running when you have the most energy (usually either in the morning or early evening)
- Writing a public training journal to hold yourself accountable
It seems simple, doesn’t it? But how many of us spend hundreds of dollars on GPS watches, the latest running shoes, and fancy gear when these things don’t actually make you a better runner?
I chuckle when I hear so many runners complain about their injury woes – yet they haven’t taken action on proven strategies for staying healthy. Instead they’ll buy their 7th pair of $120 shoes, thinking that will cure them (it probably won’t).
But one system that actually works is Strength Training for Runners - the only step-by-step, comprehensive strength workout program for runners that I’m aware of.
Created by Jeff and his team at Runners Connect, this program is what I wished I had years ago (and I’m kicking myself for not creating something like this myself!).
It’s premise is simple:
Runners want to run faster and stay healthy without injuries. The best way to do that is to get strong with proven exercises, strength routines, and a progressive way of adding them to your training.
No more wondering if you’re doing the right exercises.
No more wondering if your form is weird (they have videos for every exercise – and PDF’s).
No more worrying that certain exercises are too advanced (just follow the beginner workouts and progressions).
Strength Training for Runners provides everything you need to not only stay healthy, but improve your performance:
- Specific strength progressions for the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon
- Injury prescriptions for achilles tendonitis, shin splints, ITBS, plantar fasciitis, runner’s knee, and more
- Bonus interviews with running experts to help you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing
Check out the full details here.
This program has been wildly successful so I know you’re going to love it. I very rarely promote any other products on SR so you know it must be good.
I stand by this system so strongly that I’m going to do something I’ve never done before: I’m going to help you fit these routines into your training.
The first 10 people who forward their receipt to me can join me in a Google+ Hangout for up to an hour to chat about the program, how best to use it, get your questions answered, and how to schedule these strength workouts.
Just buy it on Runners Connect here and then send me your receipt at support@strengthrunning [dot] com.
Note: the Google+ Hangout offer is now over.
Until then – stay healthy, stay strong, and run fast!
PS. I’m an affiliate for this program because I love it and I’ve used it. If you buy it through my link above, you’ll support SR and I’ll earn a little beer money… ahem… running shoe money. I’d still recommend this program even if there was no incentive for me, though.
Get the Strength Running PR Guide ebook and tips to run faster (without the injuries).