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You Be the Coach: Is Strength Training a Waste of Time?

2015 is the Year of Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone.

Over the past three months, I’ve challenged you to:

Now I want to keep pushing you to get outside of your comfort zone. After all, how else will you continue improving if you’re not pushing the envelope?

Today, it’s your turn to be the coach. In this ongoing series, I want to encourage your continued learning about this great sport so you can make more educated decisions about your training, spot questionable pieces of running advice, and understand the shades of grey in every running issue.

Because as we’ve seen before, there’s some downright terrible running advice out there…

Let’s critique an article about strength training that makes bold claims about what actually helps runners get faster and stay healthy.

Before we dive in, two simple ground rules:

  1. Focus on the content, not the author.
  2. Be positive and constructive – unless you’re being witty, in which case I’ll allow a funny jab 🙂

Ready? Let’s do this.

Should You Strength Train?

Strength Training

This picture makes me laugh

In an article published on Active, writer Jason Karp makes several bold claims:

  • Strength training does not improve running performance (and may actually hinder performance)
  • Strength training does not prevent injuries
  • Strength training should be reserved for highly trained runners

You can read the entire article here.

There’s a LOT going on in this article. And while I would have preferred better organization, we have to use what’s available to influence our responses.

Here are several “study questions” to help guide your thinking:

Should distance runners even worry about muscle hypertrophy (growth)?

What research exists that disproves the author’s core presumption that strength training doesn’t improve performance?

If strength work doesn’t prevent injuries, why does the author recommend it for those who are prone to injuries?

What are the pros and cons of strength work for beginners?

If strength work doesn’t improve performance, why is a strength program even recommended later in the article?

You can “cheat” by learning exactly how runners should lift weights here! 🙂

What do you think?

I’m fascinated to hear what members of the Strength Running community have to say about this article.

After all, a key component to my coaching philosophy is strength work! Am I wrong? Have I been deluding myself and hundreds of thousands of other runners for the past 5 years?

Leave your comment below and let’s get the conversation going. I’ll try to respond to as many as possible with my own thoughts.

And if you want to learn how runners should strength train, what mistakes to avoid, and more, don’t miss our strength course!

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