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Strength Training for Runners

Jacquelyn Myrin, NFPT, CPT, is a professional personal trainer at Inward Fitness in Denver, CO. She’s an avid half-marathoner, National Physique Competitor (NPC) and former collegiate track athlete.

Strength Training for Runners

Are you a runner? If you are, you might know that strength training is a great compliment for your running. However, some runners are all about the miles they log and haven’t yet learned that strength training can be a really great asset to their training regimen. I’m here to give you the reasons why strength training is important for runners and give you some of my favorite exercises to help you improve your running times!

Why should I Strength Train?

If you aren’t someone that already uses strength training as a supplement to your roadwork, then maybe you’re a little apprehensive to adding it to your regimen. You may be thinking, “If you only knew how many miles I logged, you wouldn’t try to convince me to go to the gym!” Wrong! I am not thinking that, but nice try. I have been there and I have logged countless miles. I used to dread going to the gym, but I’ve had to change my ways, and I’m a stronger runner because of it. So without further ado, here are the reasons you should strength train!

Strengthen muscles – This seems like a no brainer right?!  You lift weights, you get stronger. If you’re stronger your muscles can carry you longer and faster!

Strengthens Joints – Who doesn’t want stronger joints? Many people suffer from joint pain but if you strength train properly you’ll not only strengthen your muscles but your joints too!

Decrease risk of injury – Since lifting weights will make you stronger all around, you will decrease your chance of injury. Less injury means more racing and chances at a PR (and who doesn’t like a PR)!

Don’t be in the stone ages of a typical running regimen! If you are still having a hard time believing me, do your own research and you’ll find several studies to confirm that running, plus weight training, will increase your V02 Max, you will be able to run longer, and decrease your race times!

Favorite Exercises for My Fellow Runners

You ready to test this out? I challenge you to add strength training to your program two to three times a week (just a 30-minute workout will do the trick)! You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to achieve better running times! Try these exercises to get started:

Squats

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Of course I added squats. Start with a bodyweight squat and work your way to the squat rack using a barbell. This exercise will target your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, all important muscles for running!

RDL- Romanian Deadlifts

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RDLs primarily target the hamstrings, glutes and lower back . To make this more of a challenge you can either up the weight or try single leg RDLs. Single leg RDLs are great for balance!

Planks

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Core is so important for runners. Planks are a great way to strengthen your core! This exercise not only targets your torso but your shoulders and lower back as well.

Superwomans (Supermans) or Back Extensions

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This is a great exercise because it also targets lower back and glutes. You can try it on just a mat or with a stability ball. To make it more difficult you can add weight!

Overhead Lunges

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Lunges are a great exercise in itself to strengthen leg muscles (glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors and quads). However, adding the dumbbells overhead requires strength from many other muscles, such as your core, upper back and shoulders.

Strength training is an important element to running. Even if you already knew that, try these exercises the next time you go the gym! I hope that all runners can benefit from this. After all, what could it hurt? “I don’t want to run a PR in my next race” SAID NO ONE EVER! 
 Get out there and get stronger!

 

-By Jacquelyn Myrin