If you asked me ten years ago about strength exercises, I would have smirked and said they’re unnecessary for runners. Also, I was an idiot ten years ago.
I had a conversation with my friend Jeremy in 2003 where he said, “You should get into the gym and do some leg exercises. I bet it would really help your running.”
My response? “Dude, I don’t need to do any leg exercises. I get plenty of leg exercises while running, dude.”
Besides my liberal use of the word “dude,” (which I remember very clearly) can you see how dumb I was being? I had no idea what I was talking about.
Indeed, strength work is critical to breaking the injury cycle that cursed me from 2002 -2008. I’ve since transformed my training and haven’t had a major overuse injury in four years.
See, there are essentially only two ways to reduce your risk of injury: run less or get stronger. Pete Larson, author of Tread Lightly: Form, Footwear, and the Quest for Injury Free Running was recently quoted as saying:
[Injury prevention] comes down to either reducing the force [of running] or strengthening the body. You can pick your favorite way of dealing with that.
So, will it be reducing the force of running (by running less) or strengthening the body?
Since I love running – and I bet you do too – let’s focus on strengthening the body.
That brings me to a question that Damon emailed me on why runners should do particular strength routines. He asks:
Will doing the Pedestal, Myrtl, and Back routines help me become a faster distance runner?
Spoiler alert: the answer is no. But, that doesn’t mean you should skip these routines (or other core routines). If you’re not sure why strength work is so beneficial, watch this short new Q&A video:
I’ve mentioned before that the secret sauce to successful running is consistency. It’s what enables you to train for months and months – and see dramatic improvement in your results.
Consistency also happens to be the #1 struggle that SR readers complain about. That’s why I built an entire course on making running a consistent habit that sticks, called the Strength Running Boot Camp.
Part of the problem with inconsistency is motivation and discipline. But for many runners, regular injuries plague their lives.
As soon as one little injury is healed, another pops up. If that sounds familiar, removing yourself from this cycle should be your #1 goal. It’s so important I spend an entire week on injury prevention in the Boot Camp.
You don’t need to be an expert on strength workouts to get started either (it’s more important to do something than nothing at all), so get started today.
In a few months, you may just realize you’re running more than ever.
Core and Strength Exercises Resources: