Strength Training for Runners
Strength training is key for performance, decreasing your risk of injury and for longevity in your running career. With a smart, targeted strength program, you can enhance your endurance work to maximize your power, speed and control.
For those who need to wait until the season is over, there are a few exercises you can do to improve motor control and muscle recruitment without sacrificing your in-season run training. Aim to target and activate these muscles for upwards of 1 minute to improve muscle activation and control.
Plank on Knees or Standard Plank
If you are new to strength training, start with body weight exercises and move toward dumbbells or machines as you become stronger. You will most likely be sore at first as your muscles become accustomed to the new work load. After becoming accustomed body weight exercises, in order to continue to build muscle, the weight needs to be high enough that you are struggling to get 3-5 reps in, but with proper form. It is incredibly important to warm up beforehand and that you work within your body's capabilities. If you cannot perform the exercise with proper technique, you are lifting too heavy and could injure yourself.
Intensity is key if you don't have a lot of time. Focus on high weight, low reps and low volume. If you keep the sets short: 5 sets of 3 reps, or 3 sets of 5 reps, you can strength train without exhausting yourself and messing with the quality of your run the next day.
This list is by no means exhaustive but hits major muscle groups to give you a good introduction to strengthening. You should certainly add the activation exercises listed above to the strengthening listed below for a more complete program.
BODY WEIGHT STRENGTHENING
Kneeling Push Up/Standard Push Up
Bent Over Rows
Interested in further coaching on technique or progression? We have an excellent adult fitness program, personal training and athletic performance training through ORS performance training: www.orsmi.com under our sports and training tab or at 517-990-6222.
If you happen to find yourself with an injury this season, we can help get you back on your feet and back to running. Call the Foot, Ankle and Running Center at 517-962-4437 for more information.