The biggest missing link we see with runners is a solid strengthening program. Whatever the reason, most runners avoid or neglect strength training. They have fallen prey to some misinformed influencer that believes strength training is a waste of time. What they forget to take into account is the repetitive nature of running employs one set of muscles over and over while neglecting others. It is also important to train the neuromuscular component of the movement, which comes from strength training. Strength training toughens the muscles tendons, ligaments, bones, and connective tissue. It gives you armor that protects you from the stress of running.
Benefits of Strength Training for runners:
- Strengthening the core muscles is important for maintaining good running form
- Strengthening muscles that stabilize the hips and knees is important for injury prevention
- Muscular imbalances are often associated with running specific injuries
- Strengthening a weak muscle can eliminate imbalances between opposing muscle groups
Success in endurance sports is heavily predicted on your ability to move efficiently. To do so you must develop the strength and capacity to sustain the correct movement pattern by implementing sport specific high intensity exercises coupled with a solid strength and conditioning protocol.
The beautiful thing about the body is its ability to adapt under certain environments. But while training one dimensionally has probably made you extremely efficient at your sport (assuming you are doing this movement correctly), it often comes at a cost. The tissue becomes stiff and adaptively short, muscles become weak and underdeveloped, and injuries become more frequent.
A great book I recommend to many of our runners is “Run Less, Run Faster”. Whether you’re training for a 5K or your first Marathon it has program design options for all skill levels.