Strength training is so important for endurance runners that it should not be considered cross-training. It’s just part of the training you must do to reach your potential.
About 20 years ago, I said something that I regret to this day. While cycling with a friend who wasn’t a runner, he asked me if I lifted weights. “It would really help your running,” he said.
I scoffed. “Runners don’t need to lift with their legs! We get enough leg training with our running,” I falsely claimed.
17-year olds have a way with unearned confidence…
Alas, I was wrong. I was VERY wrong. You can see how I’ve flip flopped on this issue in my coaching philosophy:
- I encourage runners to get strong (because you’ll be a faster, less injury-prone runner if you do)
- The name of my company is STRENGTH Running for a reason 😉
- My custom training plans all include strength training
- I created a weightlifting program for endurance runners (the only one created by both USATF and USA Weightlifting coaches)
Runners who embrace strength training as a necessary part of their preparation will reap the rewards. They’ll be faster, better coordinated, stronger, more injury resilient, and have a more powerful finishing kick.
What’s not to love?
To get a better idea of how runners ought to think about weightlifting and using strength work to become better runners, I invited one of the top strength coaches in the country onto the podcast.
Let’s dive in!
Tim DiFrancesco on Starting to Lift, Plyometrics, and More
Tim DiFrancesco is the former Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Los Angeles Lakers professional basketball team. After spending more than six seasons in the NBA, he left to grow TD Athletes Edge, his performance-oriented strength facility in Salem, MA.
He earned his BS in Exercise Science & Athletic Training from Endicott College and his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. His experience includes professional athletes, sub-elite athletes in the NBA-Development League, and recreational athletes across numerous disciplines.
In this conversation, we discuss what really happens in your body when you start lifting weights. We also talk about:
- Why lifting will turn you from a donkey into a gazelle
- How we change minds about endurance runners lifting weights
- Whether plyometrics are drills or strength exercises
- How to get start with plyos, plan them in your training, and mistakes to avoid
Links & Resources:
- Follow Tim on Instagram and Twitter
- Visit TD Athlete’s Edge
- Lift weights for endurance
- High Performance Lifting
Big thanks to Tim DiFrancesco for coming on the show and sharing his expertise. Please connect with him and express a big thank you!
Thank you beam!
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