Why You Should Lift Weights For Running Performance
As we enter November fully, many people’s running calendar is slowly emptying.
Winter time is a period when the casual runners and even more serious use as a time to ease up.
Recovery, both mentally and physically from all the miles done throughout 2019.
And runs may resemble more of enjoyable ones rather than pushing hard.
A way to keep the body moving.
But winter time may also be a time where you can look at potentially adding in some Strength Training to your regime so you can build a solid, strong foundation for 2020.
And it’s not just for winter, but it can be incorporated into your season also.
So today, I want to run through some thoughts and ideas for adding strength training to your running.
Injury Rates Related To Running
Like any sport or form of exercise, there is a risk of injury.
And running isn’t an exception.
According to a 2007 study, the rates of injury varies from 19.4% up to 79.3%. (Van Gent 2007)
Factor in that with the rise of social media and the internet, tonnes of information is out there.
Running technique, improvement in running shoes and how to structure your training properly.
It would be fair to think injuries should decrease, however, up to 4 out of 5 runners suffer injury.
Now it could be a case that so many novice runners are taking it up thanks to Park Runs etc.
But that’s still a really high number.
Rates of injury per year can show from 27% in Novice runners up to 52% in marathon runners.
Novice runners may show less injury rates due to lower volume of training.
Overall, running injuries can vary from plantar issues, knees, hips and lower back.
That may be attributed to either the volume of running done or the potential force of impact from running.
Which brings us to the next part.
Why You Should Lift Weights For Running Performance
A while back, I spotted this fantastic quote in a tweet by Lee Boyce:
“…Don’t run to get in shape. Get in shape to run. If you think your chronic pains will end by using running as a remedy, you’ll likely be disappointed”.
He was speaking in terms of weight loss, and how many novices start running as a means to losing weight.
However, many end up with chronic pains – sore backs, knees in agony and shin splints.
So there is a case for getting in shape to run.
But it’s not just for beginners, elite athletes also use strength training to keep themselves healthy and reduce injury risk.
Strength training helps your body deal with the stresses of running.
Your muscles will be able to perform for longer before fatiguing.
So that leads you to maintaining proper running form.
Not only that, but by focusing on single leg exercises, you ensure equal development across both legs.
That will be both muscular and strength balance.
This carries over then to even force production when doing bipedal exercises like Squats, Deadlifts and jumps for power, and reduces the risk of injury.
It maintains balance to make sure you don’t tend to compensate on one side more than the other.
And they are much less fatiguing on your lower back and hips.
Oh, they will also help your balance and coordination too.
But they won’t balance your chakras, sorry!
Other Benefits Of Strength Training
Strength or Resistance training (lifting weights) is proven to reduce instances of all-cause mortality.
It has also been proven to help in improving weight control, aids in fat loss, improves body composition (muscle to fat ratio), cardiovascular health, bone density, osteoporosis, and maintains muscle mass in elderly which in turn reduces age related muscular injury.
Also, if you’re currently carrying injuries that limit running training, hitting some strength training could be a perfect opportunity to keep training, improve all of the above and get stronger.
Because like many things in life, stronger things tend to break less!
So overall, mobility work should be part of your plan regardless of whether you’re hitting the gym or not.
I like to use the analogy of your car.
You’ll service it regularly, check the tyres and keep it in good mechanical order.
So why not do the same with your own body?
When running, you’re clocking up a lot of mileage on your body.
And without keeping it serviced, it will end up giving you bother.
Unfortunately, a mechanic can’t just turn up, replace a fuse and you’re back at 100%.
Injury is a rough time.
It takes it’s toll physically and psychologically.
So decrease your chance of injury by keeping the main joints moving well, in particularly the ankles and hips.
Then keep the hamstrings, calves and quads nice and healthy and you massively reduce the aches and pains.
So hit the foam roller for a few minutes a day and roll out the calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes.
Then do some stretches like the Couch Stretch to open up those hip flexors.
The Pigeon Pose is another great one for your hips and glutes.
You want to avoid overloading an already poorly moving joint.
Instead, focus on getting yourself moving better and stronger.
While strength training may not make you a faster runner, it has potential to make you far more efficient.
By developing a leaner body composition, lower bodyfat to muscle, it should lead to improved endurance.
Muscle is a functional tissue, whereas bodyfat is just along as a passenger.
And by adding in strength training to your annual training plan, you will reduce risk of injuries.
Which means you spend more time training and running, rather than lying on the physio table or forced time off.
You don’t need to do huge amounts.
Two gym sessions a week for 45 minutes will supplement your running training.
And your gym workouts can be adapted and tapered depending on your race schedule.
That way you keep yourself health, fit and strong to keep pushing for PB’s and new challenges.
Confused or not know what to do in the gym?
Want to get a gym plan to follow so you can add in some Strength Training to your winter exercise?
Well just pop in your details here, because I’ll have a 2 day plan ready to buy in the coming days for you!
Price – €50.