Why runners need to do resistance training

There was a time when high level runners would run and do no other types of training. Coaches believed that more running would produce better results.
Times have long since changed. Whether it’s short distance running such as the 100 metre sprint or longer distance like a marathon, resistance training plays a major role in an elite athletes training programme. Now you may say to me I’m not an elite athlete and I don’t plan on running at the olympics anytime soon. I would then say back to you that’s fine but if it’s something you like or love doing wouldn’t you want to do it to the best of your ability? Hopefully you answered yes to that question. Another important reason to add resistance training to your training regime if you are a runner is injury prevention. Injuries can often lead to muscle imbalances so often one injury can often lead to another. Soon the very thing you love doing can be quite the grind. The obvious thing about running is that it’s very repetitive, and there is no escaping the discomfort if you have an injury. Resistance training is quite the opposite, you can often still train while injured. One exercise may cause pain, however fortunately another exercise for the same body part may not. This allows you to continue to train without aggravating the injury. Unfortunately the opposite is true with running if you are injured. Running with an injury often contributes to the injury becoming worse. So what will resistance training do for the runner? It can help correct muscular imbalances. It will also strengthen ligaments, tendons, and bones. Resistance training will also change your body composition. You will have less body fat. However, many people believe adding too much muscle will slow a runner down -it won’t happen trust me! With all the aerobic exercise you are doing, building a lot of muscle won’t be possible. Not only that, but in order to build a lot of muscle you also need to eat a lot of food. What you will gain is strength, which will make you a stronger runner with stronger ligaments tendons and bones. This will also correct any muscle imbalances you may have.
Let’s say you also want to improve your performance while running. Is it just a matter of going to the gym and lifting some weights? If you really want to improve your running, studies point to training with a weight that is 80% and above the maximum weight you can lift. This means heavy weight and very low reps for your legs. Obviously if you have done no or very little resistance training it would be silly to jump straight into heavy resistance training with low reps. Learning the basic lifts with good form with medium to high repetitions would make sense for anyone with minimal experience. Once your ligaments and tendons have strengthened and you have some experience behind you, you can commence with a performance based programme. If your main goal is longevity in your running and not performance,I would stay with a higher rep range. This will still help you prevent injuries while giving you stronger ligaments, tendons and bones. Along with these benefits you will also have improved posture, stronger core muscles along with firmer skin. The short and long of the story is if running is something you love, then add resistance training to your training regime, even if it is just one session a week. You will reap the benefits.

For a free consultation contact me:

[email protected]