Strength training – exercises you didn’t know could improve your running!
Many runners often forget that strength training is excellent for helping to improve your running fitness, and there are many benefits to including this in your workout routine. Lots of runners worry that strength training will bulk up their muscles and slow them down, but that is not the case (unless you are lifting heavy weights frequently and consuming lots of extra calories).
Strength training not only helps strengthen your muscles and prevent injuries, which we all want to avoid. It can also help you run faster by improving your neuromuscular coordination and power. It may even be considered the backbone of endurance running and the change you may need in your training plans to make that extra difference! For example, improving and strengthening your upper body can boost your running efficiency.
A stronger core allows for an improved stable upper body and better form when running 😊.
You can incorporate strength training into your training plans in many ways, whether it’s visiting your local gym or using weights at home, so here are a few suggested strength exercises to include in your training:
– Squats = squats are a great way to help improve your knee stability, leg power and prevent common running injuries. Squats help to strengthen your legs, hips and buttock muscles which are vital when running.
– Calf Raises = these should be a part of every runner’s workout regime. Calf raises are great for strengthening your ankle and calf muscles, creating stability, improving speed and avoiding injuries in these areas.
– Lunges = throwing some lunges into your workout routine is a great way to improve your coordination, balance, strength and stability, which are all vital aspects of running. Lunges are a great way to practice control of the hips and increase your stride length.
– Leg raises = these will help work your lower abdominal muscles to create a more stable torso. Leg raises also help with strengthening your hip flexors, assisting with knee lifts when you run.
– Sit-ups = allow you to improve the muscle around your abdomen, allowing for greater posture and stability but also, strengthening the muscles surrounding your spine.
– Push-ups = allow you to strengthen your upper body, allowing you to maintain good posture and form throughout your run. Push-ups also allow you to improve the strength in your chest, arms and shoulders to improve arm drive when running.
– Tricep dips = again, these allow you to build up the muscle strength in your upper body, allowing you to have greater form and posture when out on your runs. This will also help relieve back pains from poor posture.
It’s important to remember that you are training for strength, not muscle gain!
Our top tip is to try and incorporate your strength training around your running training plans once or twice a week. Focus on different parts of the body on different days and try to strategically plan them.
Stay safe and happy running 😊