Congratulations on your PB in your last race. You are happy yet there is that nagging muscle fatigue you can’t seem to get rid of, no matter how much you rest. This post will be a breakthrough for you. A commitment to strength development is the key to stronger and longer running.
Balance Mileage and Strength Training.
Strength training for runners is slightly different than gym training where you train your muscles in isolation – like bicep curl, leg press, etc. Runner-specific strength training is actually one of the best tools you can use to improve your runs in the long run! For this I make my client’s follow this 4-step approach:
Mobilize. Stabilize. Strengthen and Stretch
Confused as to what that is? Include the 4 tools in your training programme regularly to prevent any injuries and prep you up for the run season.
Include a dynamic warmup for all your joints. Prime the pump! And gradually progress to deeper mobility techniques with your trainer to lengthen the stiff areas. Your best bet can be taking a mat Pilates class as it really opens you up!
Decrease the risk of injury by developing your stabilizer muscles. If you look up the kinetic chain, you might figure out your area of imbalance.
For instance, if the small stabilizer muscles around your pelvis are weak, that can cause a series of dysfunctions both up and down their kinetic chains.
Without healthy hip alignment, you are likely to struggle with pain or diminished performance (or both). For example, patellofemoral pain syndrome (also known as runner’s knee) can be caused by hip dysfunction – tight or weak hips cause compensations elsewhere that result in knee injuries. Most people don’t even know what an aligned pelvis feels like. Their hips might feel fine, but they may present with pain in their lumbar spine.
In this case, I always use the analogy – Your pelvis is a bowl of water. It can pour water out of the front (anterior tilt) or the back (posterior tilt), or kept neutral (neutral). You want to try being in neutral.
So work on your anterior core muscles and your posterior core muscles equally – there are 1000’s of exercises that can be done – A strong core will not only look great, it’ll also help contribute to better posture throughout the day and while running .
Running demands all the body, all the time from top to bottom, front to back, side to side, in the correct order, at the right speed, at the right time – all the time. So strengthening your muscles is extremely important.
“Strengthening the hips and glutes is one of the best injury prevention measures a runner can take.”
Compound movements like squats, pull ups, push ups or isolated work for your glutes, calves, lower back, shoulders should come into play (not forgetting to add different planes in which you should work your movements) Focus on muscular strength activities like weight training or body weight training rather than aerobic cross-training activities. Many runners tend to be stiff, that’s because of all the tension they hold in their upper body. That can make your regular run feel twice as hard. Hence, Strengthen.
Include stretching as part of your routine in order to see true changes in your flexibility. You need to hold a stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds to a minute to enjoy its benefits. Beware that it is possible to overstretch; which is not good. When stretching, you should never be in pain, it should be a mild discomfort at most. Stretching is best done post workout when your muscles are warm and loose to cool down and get your blood circulating and release all the lactic acid (burning sensation post lifting weights)
Whether you simply want to run pain-free or you want to shave some time off, strength training helps a great deal. Plus, you’ll enjoy many of the other benefits that come with strength training, such as higher energy levels, increased bone density, a stronger metabolism, and less body fat. So go ahead, have fun and get limber!