If you are a runner, you know you should be strength training.
Now be honest, do you actually strength train consistently?
I know how easy it is to forget about strength training. Believe me, I get it. We are runners, we want to run ALL the miles. Just look at my workouts from last week. I was running more so I dropped a day of strength training.
So running all the miles will make you a stronger and faster runner. That’s a fact. The more your run, the better you become at it. But when you run all the miles, you need all the strength to keep your body running injury free. You may have legs of steel from doing hill repeats or 800s on the track, but your WHOLE body needs strength training to combat the repetitive stress you do with each run.
From my years of working in the fitness industry, there are two things that stand out in the excuse column of why strength training doesn’t happen more often.
Intimidation. It can be intimidating to go to a gym where there’s lots of machines and “toys” with big buff dudes and ladies flinging heavy stuff around.
Time. I’m already spending a ton of time running, how can I fit it one more thing?
You don’t need fancy gym equipment to strength train. It most certainly makes it more interesting, but it’s not necessary. Do you know what the best strength training exercises for runners are: planks, deadlift, squats, lunges and push ups.
Notice what all these have in common? No equipment needed!
You also don’t need hours to devote to strength training. It should take you 20-30 minutes to bust out some strength.
Easy enough, right?
Strength Training Guidelines for Runners
- 2-3 full body strength training sessions a week focusing on the major muscle groups of the lower and upper body
- Use a heavy enough weight so form is not compromised
- Form is key! Don’t get sloppy to get through the exercises faster. Slow and controlled.
- Exercises that will enhance your running (see below)
- Plyometrics like squat jumps, bounding and high knees are explosive bodyweight training which a runner needs. These exercises help with your “spring” when you push off the ground with each foot fall while running.
- Exercises that move in many planes. Work to the front, side and the back!
- Do strength training on your easy run days or cross training days
- Say you don’t have time
- Think advanced means better results. It’s better to do a basic move with good form.
- Use momentum when performing the exercise. Think about what muscle you are working to lift the weight in a slow and controlled movement.
Looking for some strength training exercises for runners? Check out these 7 workouts that are 20-30 minutes and hit all the muscles runners need to strengthen.
FYI – While I am an ACSM Clinical Exercise Physiologist and RRCA Running Coach, I am not your trainer or coach. Please consult your physician, trainer or coach for specific guidelines.
Do you strength train?
What’s your go to for strength training?