Far too many runners only train by running. And far too many of these runners are getting injured. Why? Running can cause significant wear and tear on the joints, inflammation, tightness, inflexibility and muscle imbalances.
So what should you do if you’re a runner and want to improve? The answer lies in strength training. And while many runners fear they’ll get bulky or slow down if they lift weights, the key is in the intensity and approach they take to strength training.
You don’t have to train like a bodybuilder or serious powerlifter to be a better runner. But it’s crucial to build strong muscles in your glutes, hips and core to help lessen the impact running has on your body. When you get stronger you’ll increase your resiliency to injuries, get faster, improve your running posture, build your endurance and create an athletic foundation that will take your running game to an entirely new level.
When you choose to strength train to be a better runner, you don’t need to be in the gym for hours at a time. The key is to find what works for you and doesn’t get in the way of your running; strength training should amplify your running, not hinder it. Body weight exercises, TRX, light dumbbells, resistance bands and even kettlebells are fantastic training mediums to explore. As a beginning recommendation, start with one to two full-body sessions around 15-20 minutes each. Pick four to six compound exercises each session that work multiple muscles at once and perform two to three sets of 10-15 reps each move. You can increase the frequency and intensity with time.