How To Incorporate Strength Training Into Your Running

How To Incorporate Strength Training Into Your Running

Running is one of the world’s most popular exercise regimes. Probably due to its low cost of entry and ease of getting started, many people take up running every single day. While, at first, taking a run around the block may be fine, in time, incorporating workout routines at home and other types of training is crucial to keep improving.

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If you are training for your first 5km, or maybe your first marathon, including some cross-training and strength training into your workout plan will certainly help you to run better, faster, and to get injured less.

If you want to run faster, run better, get injured less, and get fitter, keep reading this article.

Tips to add strength training to your running

Getting into strength training can seem hard and overwhelming at first. What if you lift too much? What if you do something wrong? These are all valid questions to ask, and ones we hope will be answered by the end of this article.

Here are some tips to get into strength training for your running.

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Get the groundwork in place

Do not focus on increasing your heart rate. Many runners make their workouts a metabolic workout. While this may work for some, a better idea is to look at CrossFit or circuit-based training classes to help up the intensity and moveability. Runners do get enough cardio and should instead be focusing on strength and power to improve their speed and climbing. Many suggest that you focus on heavy weights for a moderate amount of repetitions with a full recovery.

Working on your whole body is another crucial aspect. It’s better to focus on compound exercises than isolated exercises that only target one muscle group. When running, you use many muscles at once, and your strength/ complimentary training should focus on this. The goal is to learn how to control your weight in multiple planes, increase strength proficiency and body awareness. This will allow you to move more freely, be more balanced and faster.

Remember that your body is weight. Planks and bridges are great exercises as they target areas that could increase injury risk, like the hips and core. If you find lifting dumbbells or barbells too difficult, you can add body-weight exercises to your training program.

Do not train for gains but strength

Train for strength and power as a runner, not for bulking up with huge muscles. If you want to become stronger, but not necessarily larger, then it is important that you choose your reps and weights carefully. Heavy loads increase strength, while volume builds muscle. Runners should focus on heavier weights to help them build more strength rather than unnecessary muscle.

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Strength training should be done in a similar fashion to running. In the beginning, focus only on three sets of 10 reps. This may seem like a very basic set and rep scheme, but it builds up movement capability and makes it easier to use moderate weight. Then, you can increase your weight by appropriately periodizing until you get into power-based movements or Olympic lifts. At that point, the reps will drop to two to five reps per set, and sets will increase.

What is too heavy?

It is important to avoid allowing weight training to cause so much stress on your body that it causes injury. Runners tend to be the type of athletes who want to feel the burn. This is why sometimes it is common for them to run too fast or too slow. But that doesn’t mean we should push ourselves too hard in the weight room.

Make sure to do a perfect form with your body weight before you add resistance to any exercise. These four tips will help you decide how much weight you want to add to your gym weights:

  • Start with a weight you don’t know is too difficult.
  • Do three sets of 10 reps.
  • Take note of how you feel, and gradually add weight.
  • If the last few reps feel extremely difficult, you can start with this weight.

The weight can be increased every two weeks in the same way that you increase your running mileage during a training program. You should slowly decrease the reps and increase the weight every month. This will help to increase your strength as your muscles get used to heavier loads.

Think of your strength training as a type of run. An easy jog is five on the exertion scale. A sprint is 10, so you should lift at eight or nine. This will make it feel fast, but not a sprint. The last rep should not be too difficult, but you should be struggling a little.

To fully recover, take a break between sets of 2 to 3 minutes. You will be less able to lift heavy loads if you take shorter rest periods leading to less strength growth. Take a longer break and don’t rush your training. As with many things, patience is crucial.

Make sure to plan accordingly

Lifting should be incorporated into your training program at least once a week. How do you schedule it? When deciding how to schedule strength training, consider how intense your runs are each day.

Running at maximum effort can be affected for up to 48 hours following lower-body resistance training. You might consider delaying running intensely for at least two days following your strength training.

If you are used to running at lower intensities, using resistance training like ankle weights can help to improve your ability. However, if you are used to running at higher intensities, lifting and working with heavy weights is a good idea.

Final thoughts

Strength training for running does not have to be this hard or overwhelming thing. It can be an easy task that helps to improve your muscular ability, improving your speed and time. Use the above tips to get into training and to plan properly. Take the plunge and start your strength training; your faster self will thank us later!