What do you think when you hear the term strength training? Hours spent in the gym with vast amounts of equipment? Another thing to fit into a busy schedule when you’d much rather be out running?
We hear you! Hitting the trails or road would always be our destination of choice.
But what if adding strength training into the mix could actually make you a better and faster runner?
What if it meant you could go for longer and not get tired or injured (aka the holy grail of running). Sounds great right? Well, the science backs it up.
A study published in Sports Medicine led by researchers from Birmingham City University reviewing the effects of strength training on running performance suggests that strength training can provide real and evidenced benefits to the performance of runners.
The review showed that strength training can improve running economy, race performance and improve maximal sprint speed by making you a more efficient runner with up to an 8% improvement in running economy and up to a 4% improvement in race performance in long distances races 10km and over.
The studies suggest that doing strength work and plyometric training – things like jumping, hopping and skipping – has an impact on how the brain recruits and utilises the muscles you already have. Tendons get stiffer and springier which can make your running stride more efficient.
Put simply, strength training really can put a spring in your step.
If this all sounds a bit too time consuming when you are already juggling work, training and life, don’t worry, adding in some body weight exercise and plyometric work into your training does not need to take very long at all, you don’t even need a gym.
Just ten minutes of strength training tacked on to the end or beginning of a run can make a difference. The added bonus is that if you’ve never incorporated any strength training into your routine before, the results will be quick and impactful.
Strength training builds that all important endurance base, creating the strong foundations on which you can increase training volume (more miles) with less risk of getting injured.
At the most basic level, a stronger body equals a body better equipped to deal with increased mileage.
So whether you are gearing up to start training for a marathon, have your sights set on tackling an ultra-endurance event or ultimately want to get faster, strength training can be the key ingredient in the recipe for success.
Take a look at our great on demand programmes, including Glute Strength for Performance, Strength for Marathon, Essential Strength for Endurance, Hit Strength for Trail Running and Build a Stronger Body.
Purchase as a one-off or grab yourself a 14 day free trial of our premium membership and take a look around for free. You can cancel anytime – and if you use the code GRTWTB, you’ll get 30% off. That’s just £16 per month on an annual membership.