Why Strength Training Is So Important For RunnersJan 06, 2023
Injury rates for runners are through the roof. This has led to a lot of misconceptions about running in general. I am sure you have heard some iteration of “running is bad for your body.” While injury rates are still too high amongst runners, that does not mean that running is inherently bad for you.
Many times, when runners are injured it is because they are not doing the other things such as recovery, strength training, etc.
In general, the biggest thing that is being missed out on is strength training. Talking to hundreds of runners over the years it is clear that there is this prevailing thought that strength training will “cause me to bulk up.” While it is true that carrying a bunch of extra weight can hurt your running performance, the perception that strength training is going to hurt your performance is far from the truth.
First let’s take a look at what type of weight training volume you would need to actually bulk up and then look at the volume that runners need to do to stay running healthy and injury-free.
Example weight training week for someone bulking (we will keep the week of workouts pretty general):
Day 1: Chest, shoulders, triceps
Day 2: Back and Biceps
Day 3: Legs
Day 4 Chest, shoulders Triceps
Day 5: Back and Biceps
Day 6: Legs
Without even going in to sets and reps, you can see that there is one glaring thing missing from this training program. There is NO CARDIO planned during this training cycle to bulk up.
Strength training for a runner might look like this:
Day 1: Full body pushing movements
Day 2: Full body pulling movements
4 Days of running and 1 complete rest day
The average person running a half marathon will be running somewhere between 25-40 miles per week, depending on the training plan. You can see that the time spent running and the time spent strength training are not equal. Lifting a couple of days a week during a training cycle will improve your performance by improving muscular strength, efficiency, and decreasing your risk for injury. IT WILL NOT CAUSE YOU TO BULK UP.
If you are a runner and are on the fence about adding strength training... START NOW! You won’t regret it.
Yours in Health,
Doc Andrew PT, DPT, OCS, CMTPT, CSCS
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