By: Coach Joe Beckerley USAW-SP, USAT-1, CPT
Many runners think of strength training as tough hill repeats, interval workouts, or other anaerobic runs – but to truly increase strength, runners will benefit from moving some weight. Runners need to strength train in a way the does not impair endurance, and allows for quick recovery so they can stick to their running plan. But what does this look like?
• Use relatively heavy weights, fewer repetitions, and allow for plenty of rest between sets.
• Focus on whole body movements. Include the deadlift, squat and lunge to improve running performance, as well as exercises for essential human movement including the push, pull, loaded carry and rotation.
• Early in the season, strength train at least three days a week to build and maintain strength. During the competition cycle of training, maintain strength training a minimum of two days a week.
This style of strength training allows runners to improve power without building bulk that could slow them down in their next race. For many of us who are now considered “aging” athletes, this is particularly important because strength training will prevent bone loss and balance problems associated with older age, and instead will help create a healthier, more functional body. So if you are looking to dominate the trail in the upcoming Stairway to Heaven Half Marathon, or just feel a bit stronger in America’s Finest City Half Marathon as you run up 6th Avenue – try incorporating strength training into your training plan.