Strength training is a physical activity designed to improve muscular fitness; also known as weight training or
resistance training. By carrying out strength training you are exercising a specific muscle or muscle group against external resistance: bodyweight, free weights or weight machines (1). The current recommendations for physical activity for adults are to be physically active for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity levels or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week and to include at least two days of activities that build on strength to keep the muscles, bones and joints strong (2).
There are many benefits to be found from including strength training into your exercise regime including (3):
· Increased strength of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments
· Increased muscle mass
· Ability to maintain a healthier weight
· Reduced risk of injury
· Better quality of life
Whilst strength training can improve your running it can additionally help to support and maintain a healthier weight. The increased muscle mass makes it easier for your body to burn calories and help to maintain a healthy weight (3). Strength training also increases your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption EPOC: the body continues to burn calories post workout. Additionally, strength training keeps your metabolism active after exercising for much longer in comparison to an aerobic workout (4).
How Much Strength Training To Include For Runners?
Jonny Woodhouse the lead running coach at JDW Coaching recommends completing 1-2 strength sessions per week focusing on lower body strength. Each session can be between 30-45 minutes and should be performed after running workouts. If you are completing the session immediately after your then he recommends having a rest day to follow.
Top Strength Tips For Runners From A Running Coach
Jonny’s strength tips for runners:
1. Set goals: when you have a target to aim for it’s much easier to get your trainers on and head out of the door. Ensure you targets are realistic and achievable. (For helping setting your goals check out How To Set Goals For Success blog)
2. Increase weekly distance by 10% per week to give you the best chance of staying injury free. Every fourth week should be an easy week (de load in volume and intensity)
3. Stay hydrated. Pre running ensure you have taken water on board and during the run if it’s a long one
4. Add in stretch and mobility routines before running to ensure your body is ready for the demands going to be placed upon it
5. Enjoy it and with a smile on your face! Just remember no matter how fast you are going, it’s quicker than those still on the sofa!
What Exercises To Include For Runners?
Here is a list of the best exercises to include for runners5:
· Push Ups
Many elite runners follow a variety of training programs and therefore it is clear it is unknown the ideal strength training routine at present. However, what is known is that strength training in many different forms results being able to run faster, stronger and for longer6. Sounds good right?
GB Age Group Triathlete Helene Wright
Whilst the science can do a lot of the talking, I wanted you to hear it from a runner who includes strength work into her weekly training. Helene is a GB athlete that I work with and on writing this I asked her how valuable strength work has been to her training and competitions:
“I've been a competitive multisport athlete now for the last 4 years, having gone from amateur level to the World Duathlon age group championships last year. Since starting it hasn't been plain sailing and I have battled with niggles and injuries along the way - a few of which have frustratingly side-lined me for weeks, having a knock-on effect on my racing. One thing I have learnt along the way is the absolute importance of incorporating regular strength work into my training to prevent injury as a result of strengthening up the key swim-bike-run muscles and connective tissues, plus improving my running form by encouraging coordination and stride efficiency. I currently aim to do three 30-minute strength sessions a week, primarily targeting the key swim-bike-run muscles. I generally try to split these up into specific upper body, lower body and core workouts so they can be strategically scheduled into my training week to not impact too much on my other sessions e.g. not doing a hard-upper body workout the day before a big swim session.”
How Do I Add Strength Training?
If you are unsure how to include strength training into your workouts, please get in touch with us to book a free consultation and discuss a strength training plan and running regime.
Article Written by Jade Mottley - Health & Fitness Writer
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