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How Do I Strength Train For Running?


An Invictus Boston member running

In the long run, you’ll wish you strength trained.🏃🏽💨


See what we did there?😉


Running is a fantastic way to stay fit, improve cardiovascular health, and boost your mental well-being. Whether you're a seasoned marathoner or just starting to explore the world of running, you've likely heard about the benefits of incorporating strength training into your routine. In this article, we'll delve into the reasons why you should consider strength training for running and how it can enhance your performance and overall fitness.


Injury Prevention

One of the most compelling reasons to include strength training in your running regimen is injury prevention. Running places a significant amount of stress on the body, particularly the lower limbs. Over time, this repetitive impact can lead to overuse injuries like shin splints, stress fractures, and knee pain. Strength training helps address these issues by strengthening the muscles and connective tissues that support your running form.


By incorporating exercises that target the quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes, you can improve your running mechanics and reduce the risk of injuries. A stronger lower body can better absorb shock and maintain proper form, allowing you to log more miles with less risk of setbacks.


Increased Running Efficiency

Strength training isn't just about bulking up; it's also about improving the efficiency of your movements. A more efficient stride requires less energy expenditure, which means you can run longer and faster without feeling fatigued. Strength training helps runners build functional strength, improving their ability to maintain proper running posture and utilize their muscles effectively.


Exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, promoting better coordination and balance. Enhanced muscular endurance will allow you to maintain good form throughout your runs, translating to improved race times and overall performance.


Enhanced Running Economy

Running economy is a measure of how efficiently you use oxygen at a given pace. Research has shown that strength training can improve running economy by increasing muscle strength and power. When your muscles can generate more force, you can push off the ground with greater energy, resulting in faster, more efficient running.


Plyometric exercises like box jumps and bounds, along with resistance training using resistance bands or weights, can help enhance your muscle power. Improved running economy means you can maintain faster paces for longer durations, making it an invaluable asset for both short and long-distance runners.


Better Core Stability

A strong core is essential for maintaining proper posture and balance while running. It helps you stabilize your upper body, preventing excessive rotation or side-to-side movement that can waste energy and lead to injury. Exercises like planks, Russian twists, and leg raises can strengthen your core muscles, improving your running form.


Additionally, a strong core can aid in breathing control and efficiency, allowing you to take in more oxygen during your runs, which is vital for endurance and performance.


Injury Rehabilitation

If you're already dealing with a running-related injury, strength training can be a crucial part of your rehabilitation process. Many common running injuries, such as IT band syndrome or patellar tendonitis, benefit from targeted strength exercises. These exercises can help correct muscle imbalances, alleviate pain, and restore proper function to injured areas.


Always consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist before beginning any strength training program, especially if you're recovering from an injury.


How To Strength Train For Runners


Strengthen The Posterior Chain

The posterior chain muscles live on the backside of your body and include the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and erectors. The posterior chain plays a vital role in running. They help you maintain stability and drive you forward. Strengthening your posterior chain often leads to increased speed due to improved running form or economy of motion and prevents injury. Romanian Deadlifts, Glute Bridges/Hip Thrusts, Box Step Ups, and Hip Extensions are all great movements for developing posterior strength.


Bulletproof Your Calves And Ankles

Weak calf muscles mean reduced ankle mobility, stability, and power output. this is often the cause of common foot injuries such as Achilles Tendonitis and Plantar Fasciitis in runners. Thus, strengthening your calf muscles becomes important to keep these injuries at bay. Doing single-leg versions of the posterior exercises in the previous slide as well as Heel taps off A box, Calf raises, and tibialis raises should be a regular part of your strength routine.


Improve Your Running Posture

Additionally, mixing in some upper body exposure is helpful (especially pulling and overhead mobility) to help keep a strong running posture. good running posture requires the shoulders to be open and sit back properly. This allows for efficient breathing and maximizes the power generated from your arm swing. Strive to incorporate Pull-up work, Overhead/handstand holds. Z Presses, and Turkish get-ups into your strength routine.


Conclusion

Incorporating strength training into your running routine is not just an option; it's a necessity for long-term success and injury prevention. By building a strong foundation, you can improve your running efficiency, increase your running economy, and reduce the risk of injuries. Whether you're a recreational jogger or a competitive athlete, the power of strength training can help you achieve your running goals and keep you on the road or trail for years to come. So, lace up those running shoes and hit the gym to experience the transformative benefits of strength training for running.


If you’re a runner or have a run you’ve signed up for coming up, you may enjoy our endurance class. On top of longer, more aerobic functional workouts, we’ve added in supplemental strength training to make sure your base is covered whenever you hit the trail! Follow the link here to claim your free class!


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