Most runners have heard that lifting weights can make you slow and bulky. Not only is this a falsely perpetuated myth, but strength training is a great way to reduce injuries and shave precious seconds off of your race times involves weight training. Strength training is also a great way to complement your 5k or marathon training and can have a positive effect on your daily life as well. Here are a few reasons why every runner needs to be in the weight room….don’t miss number 5:
1. Injury Prevention
If you strength train for only one reason, this should be it. Less injuries mean more time running and training, and who doesn’t want that? Strength training prepares your muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons for all of the mileage the body accumulates over the course of the week. Long distance running involves high levels of muscular endurance, and a great way to complement your running outside of the gym is to lift moderate to heavy weights inside of the gym. Strength training will make you a more durable runner and prepare you for your high mileage days and weeks.
2. Weight Training Makes You Faster
Yes, you read that right! A stronger lower body means a greater force output with each step, which translates to faster race times. Stronger muscles are more resistant to fatigue and allow runners to hold faster paces times for a longer duration. Regular strength training enables muscles to expend less energy to hold the same running pace and can help you reserve a little extra energy for your finishing kick.
3. Strength Training Improves Running Efficiency
A stronger muscle makes a more efficient muscle. Studies have shown strength training to increase the neuromuscular coordination and efficiency of muscles and allows the body to better recruit the muscle groups needed to run. This increases the body’s coordination and power output, which means less energy expended to run at the same pace.
4. Stronger Runner = Stronger Finishing Kick
Lower body strength training will increase your force output with each step. Combined with a greater coordination and efficiency and you have everything you need for a better final kick in your race!
5. WEIGHTS DO NOT MAKE YOU SLOW & BULKY
Unfortunately, this is one of the most common myths of weight training that still gets thrown around today. Most runners have been told that they need to train with higher rep ranges to keep from getting too big and bulky, but this is actually the opposite of what they need to be doing. Runners get plenty of muscular endurance training from their running alone, so training with high volume ranges in the weight room will have little to no benefit on their running performance. Moderate to heavy weight training at reduced volumes will get you stronger, increase neuromuscular control and efficiency, and prevent you from getting big and bulky. Bodybuilders should train like bodybuilders, runners should train like runners! This is why it’s especially important to make sure you find a strength coach that knows what they are doing. Just like any athlete, runners have specific goals and demands; your strength training program to be tailored to fit those demands. That is what LIFT does.
Be on the lookout later this week for specific exercises every runner can add into their weekly training regimen!