There are millions of runners across the country. Their goals may vary from person to person—crushing that 6-minute mile, finishing a 10K, or even running an upcoming marathon. Regardless of the goal, the reality is that it’s much easier to reach your running goals by incorporating strength training into your workout routine. Why? There are multiple reasons. In this blog, we’ll break down the most important ones and explain how they can get you from point A to B faster than ever before.
You’ve probably heard that strength training can prevent running related injuries. We’ve even mentioned it briefly in a previous blog, but we didn’t explain why. When you run, you expose your legs to nearly three times your body weight with each stride. This can cause terrible joint and knee pain, as well as injuries to your feet and toes. How many people do you know experiencing lower body pain associated with running? Probably a lot. Working on your legs is great. Strength training for runners focuses attention on the muscles associated with running, giving you extra strength to withstand the impact of running.
Additionally, strength exercises can be used to help correct problems that are undoubtedly occurring during your runs. For instance, people can often develop problems associated with balance while training for longer runs. Strength training might help in this department, correcting bad form in a few weeks of training.
Running is a great workout. It can be great for building your glutes, quads, and calves. But there are some problems with not incorporating strength training into your routine. If you’ve been running for a long time, the chances are that you’ve established a comfortable stride. If so, then there are likely multiple minor muscles that aren’t receiving any attention during your workouts. But you may find these muscles fatiguing quickly when there are changes in terrain, pace, equipment, or injury. Isolation exercises from strength training will tone these muscles, making you more well-rounded than before.
Many large muscle groups are engaged while you are running. Two factors you may not have considered that are propelling you forward are arm drive and core engagement. Working on these two muscle groups will allow you to propel yourself forward faster and for longer durations. Arm and core exercises can easily help you surpass your running goals, if they are done consistently in conjunction with your running schedule.
When should you incorporate strength training as a runner? It’s a trick question. Every runner should incorporate these exercises for better running and well-rounded health. You can do these exercises so long as your health and circumstances allow it. And, even better, you’ll be a better runner because of it.
If you’re experiencing problems with pain while running, and are not seeing improvement, consider contacting our team of experts at Mid-Maryland Musculoskeletal Institute.