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The Strength Running Vision: 7 Rules of the Strength Runner Code

Strength Running is about more than just me, Jason Fitzgerald. It’s about you – my fellow Strength Runners and the community that supports the Strength Running vision.

Welcome aboard. If you’ve been hanging out here for a few months you know we do things differently: there’s no “Top 3 Injury Prevention tips” articles because that stuff is too general. We focus on the specifics of running faster and how they fit into a broader training program.

Strength Runner
My Vision: A Team of Strength Runners

Strength Runners are action-oriented and want detailed running advice. That’s why I don’t post short articles about boring running topics. I dive into hard training, teach you about my successes and failures, but most importantly I learn from my fellow Strength Runners about what training works and what doesn’t. You are just as important as I am here – thank you for being a vibrant part of the Strength Running community.

So what is a Strength Runner? Here are 7 rules of the Strength Runner mentality:

1) Take Action and Get it Done

Too many runners read magazines, blogs, and articles about training but don’t implement any of the advice into their own program. Here, you’re pushed to be more pro-active about your running and take responsibility for your fitness.

You know that tempo workouts increase your aerobic endurance. But do you do them? If you’re a Strength Runner they’re a cornerstone of your training program. You know that strength exercises help prevent injuries – so you do them.

Strength Runners dominate their training because they want to accomplish their goals.

2) Have Big Goals and Know How to Accomplish Them

Goals are the reason why we train. What do you want to achieve this year? Earlier I announced that 2011 is the Year of the PR and I want every Strength Runner to improve their training so they can run faster than ever. Maybe you need to be more consistent with your long runs or need somebody to look over your training plan.

Whatever your goal is, knowing how to reach it is just as important as having that big goal. Make sure you’re on the right track (pun!) with your training and don’t be afraid to set a huge goal if you think it’s achievable. Losing 20 pounds, racing your first half-marathon, or qualifying for Boston are some of the top-tier goals Strength Runners make.

3) Smart Training = Fewer Injuries

Injuries can sometimes happen when you’re training hard for a big goal. But they shouldn’t happen as frequently for Strength Runners as they do for “normal” runners. We know how to take care of ourselves and prevent the majority of training mistakes that lead to weaknesses, imbalances, and painful injuries.

Taking a day off from running isn’t a sign of weakness – instead, it’s a smart move if you need it! Listen to your body and know when you need a break. Do the “little things”: extra sleep when you’re running more, strength and core exercises to keep your body strong, and running slower when you’re sore.

Strength Runners are patient and know that personal bests don’t happen after a few weeks of good training. It takes months or even years of smart training for a breakthrough. One of the runners I coach just ran a 12 minute PR in a half-marathon…after 5 months of me coaching her. Train smart so you can be just as successful.

4) Fast Running is About More than Just Running

Being a successful runner  means that you have to run a lot. But being able to run a lot requires you to do a lot of non-running work like core, strength exercises, and cross-training. This supplemental work makes you a better athlete: more agile, stronger, resistant to injury, and coordinated.

These skills – yes, skills – help you run more miles and faster workouts. And that’s how you run faster on race day.

So hit the gym for a high-quality lifting session.
Get on your mountain bike and enjoy the trails.
Exercise in three planes of motion to avoid being a one-dimensional athlete.

5) Minimalism is a Tool

There’s no secret to running faster on race day – all it takes is smart training. You may have heard some wild claims about barefoot running, like how you’ll never get injured again or that it will help you become an ultramarathoner.

Running without shoes has its benefits, but it can’t guarantee you’ll be immune to injury or that you’ll become the next Chris McDougall. Strength Runners use minimalist training shoes and barefoot running as a tool to build strength, get faster, and prevent injuries.

Just like tempo workouts, long runs, or strength sessions, barefoot running isn’t a magic bullet that will make you faster. Use it to your advantage – but in moderation. Just a few minutes of barefoot running, strides, or a short easy run in flats can produce tremendous benefits to you as a runner.

Becoming a full-time minimalist or barefoot runner isn’t about running faster. Elite runner Alan Culpepper said, “I think to run exclusively barefoot or in minimalist shoes is more of a lifestyle thing and not really about performance running.” Use it to your advantage, but if you want to see results on race day then run barefoot sparingly.

6) Running is Fun!

Strength Runners take pride in their sport and enjoy heading out the door for a run. Some of us are predawn runners or exude more passion about hard training than is seemingly possible. Whatever your style, have fun and enjoy the gift of being a healthy runner.

Ryan Hall often trains on Green Church Road in his hometown of Mammoth Lakes, California. He calls this road his sanctuary and often runs grueling 10+ mile tempos there. He loves his work and it shows – he’s determined to give his best and praise God for the gift that He’s given him. His passion about running oozes from his personality and encourages thousands to run. I respect that.

If you’re not having fun, then why run?

7) Community Matters

That’s why we’re here! Running requires a lot of motivation but there is a huge community of runners to support you in reaching your goals. Strength Runners connect with others who share similar aspirations. It’s easier to be successful when you have a team supporting you and encouraging your progress.

The team of Strength Runners continues to grow and get faster. We’re excited about training, intelligent about our running, and eager to connect with other Strength Runners.

Are you in?

If so, I want to welcome you to the team. Together, we’re going to accomplish a lot in 2011. I have big plans for this group and Strength Running this year, so come along for an incredible journey.

If you don’t already get automatic updates whenever there’s a new post, then sign up for RSS updates here. It would also be great if you joined the Strength Running team by signing up for my newsletter below (or here). I often give out free coaching services, giveaways, or running gear so don’t miss out!

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