If you want to avoid injury, improve your running form and progress your running fast, the missing magic ingredient is strength training
Over the last ten years, I’ve coached hundreds of female runners from beginners right the way through to sub 3 hour 30 minute marathon runners – and the one thing that stands out as making the biggest difference to improved running is strength training.
To help the women we coach understand how vital it is to improved running, I like to use the analogy of ball that is pumped up and one that is slightly flat; the pumped up one bounces up high off the floor, the flat one can not lift off the floor or does so poorly. That’s the difference that a conditioned muscle makes to your running form compared to a running body that has not been conditioned.
How strength training helps you as a runner…
- You’ll be able to keep running consistently without having to take time off for injury
- It improves your running economy by up to 8%, making you more efficient which means less tired and faster
- Improves your ability to create force – exactly what you need to be able to do in order to drive your body off the floor and land with every stride
- Improves your V02 max by up to 4%, which is a measure of your aerobic capacity
All of this matters hugely if you’re training for endurance, whether that’s a half marathon, marathon, triathlon, or ultra.
If you take one thing from this post, it is this – in Sieler’s Hierarch of Endurance Training needs, which ranks eight fundamental training practices in order of proven impact, the fundamental foundation of training is volume – if you become injured because your body is not strong enough, that volume and consistency is undermined.
I recently spoke with Chrissie Wellington at the Training Peaks Endurance Coaching Summit and she spoke about her amazing London Marathon time of 2 hours 44 minutes and she credits strength work as the secret to her success;
‘I magnate to do it off the back of strength and conditioning, which meant that I stayed strong off the back of the end of the marathon which becomes even more important as we age.’
How do I fit it in?
All this is all very well and good, I hear you say, but how do I fit in marathon training, relationship, work and family?
This, and lack of understanding about strength training and how to do it are the single biggest reasons that female runner neglect strength training. But it doesn’t need to take long – 10-20 minutes of the RIGHT strength training will help transform you as a runner, much more than just slogging out the same miles at the same pace over and over again.
To help women who are training for endurance to get that secret ingredient into the running or triathlon mix, we have created a four week strength training programme, encompassing three workouts per week of approximately 20 minutes. Each workout is different and is delivered via our membership portal to your phone, and all the exercises are filmed so you’ll know exactly what to to do and how. You must have access to a gym.
It costs £29.99 and once purchased you’ll own it for life and will be able to repeat the programme whenever you like, whether you want to build strength for an endurance event or you just want to do it in order to get fit and in shape.
It will be available to purchase in December, perfect timing for anyone who is doing a Spring marathon helping you to lay the foundations upon which your volume of training can build.