How Strength Training Can Improve Your Running Form and Help You Get Faster
We’ve all been there. Out for a run and haunched over – willing your self to stand a little taller but unable to get your body to cooperate. Oh and the back pain you feel the next day? The worst.
Or how about this one. You’ve been running for a few years with no problems and then you start to get pain in your knees. Or your calves. Or your feet. Or your hips. Not fun.
Or maybe you’re just new to running. And it’s hard! And you’re wondering if there’s anything out there that can make it easier?
Yes? To more than one? Then you’ve probably found yourself wondering about strength training and asking some of these questions.
What exercises do I need to do?
How do I know if I am doing it right?
How often should I do them and how do I incorporate them into my training plan?
Do I have to lift heavy weights?
Why [and how] is this going to help me?
Running is great. It gives you a high unlike any other fitness I've found thus far. It can be social or therapeutic or both. It's a wonderful calorie burner if that's what you're looking for. But running can be, well, not so well rounded. It's g-r-e-a-t for building endurance. But not so great for building overall strength.
Why does strength matter if I am trying to get faster?
When you run, your body is naturally going to use the strongest muscles available. Think back to middle school, or heck even your current office job. There’s always an office Karen [sorry if your name is Karen] that speaks up in every meeting. That takes every new project. That volunteers for every. single. little thing. And here’s the thing — Karen is great but the team has a lot more people on it that aren’t getting a chance to do anything. The team could work a lot faster if everyone could participate. In running your lower legs are the Karen. The do all the work. Partly because they’re good at it so they just keep doing it, and partly because no one else on the team has participated in so long — they all forgot how.
Strength training targets one muscle or muscle group at a time.
Strength training is not a group project. It lets each muscle or group do it's own thing and get stronger on it's own time.
A good strength training program will include moves that just work the core [abdominals & back], or your butt [glutes], back of the thighs [hamstrings] and inner and outer hips [abductors and adductors]. You won’t have to wonder if the core is working - you will know!
Before you know it Karen will just be an equal participant on the team - getting some of the credit but not all. The haunching in your back will go away as your core gets engaged. Your ENTIRE body will be working as you run and not only will you feel amazing, but you’ll get faster in the process.
Strength training helps prevent injuries.
Most injuries that runners encounter are due to overuse. Imagine rubbing two strings together over and over and over eventually they get weak and break. Now imagine those strings are actually muscles or tendons in your body. Um, ouch! If you keep repeating the same motion over and over and ONLY that motion, you're going to run into some problems.
Strength training let's you move your body in different ways and help take some tension off of those overworked muscles and tendons. Less tension, less imbalance, less injury.
Strength training is a great warm up for the run itself.
Maybe you’ve heard the term “muscle activation” before. Or heard someone say they have “sleeping glutes”. It basically means that the muscle is so dang lazy it’s not going to do any work. And as I said earlier - this is a group project. Mandatory participation grade.
Just doing a few quick moves like squats or lunges before you run allows all the muscles to “wake up” and get to work. When you start your run you won’t be slogging and plodding through those first few miles!
Ok so now what?
Super. Now you know WHY you need strength training to improve your running or just to keep you a healthier runner overall. But now you still need to know how. And when. And how long. and what exercises!
Do me a favor and grab my FREE [yes girl. I am cheap so I give away great things for free] Beginners Guide to Strength Training. It covers all the basics and I promise you once you read it — the next time you go into a weight room you will NOT feel like a deer in headlights wondering what to do.
And THEN — but only if you’re really ready to start feeling like the strong fast bad ass that you know you are — I want you to get your self Get Strong Run Faster. You are welcome in advance. Because you will have such clarity with this program. You will know exactly what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and you will start seeing RESULTS right away. You will start feeling strong. You will start running faster. And it will just keep getting better and better.
And if you’re about to tell me you don’t even have a training plan because you think its super expensive and only for elite athletes and other assorted super serious people? Are you serious about being a better version of you? Are you serious about taking care of yourself? That’s serious enough for me! Let's chat!]