Strength training is not cross-training for runners. It’s just part of smart training.
Keep reading this article and I’ll show you how to balance lifting with training so you can maximize gains in both, boost your speed into a lethal finishing kick, and gain definition.
…Even if you’re short on time (you don’t need hours in the gym every day).
…Even if you’re not sure how (or when) to vary your weight, reps, and exercises.
…Even if you don’t know anything about lifting weights and just prefer running.
Whats so special about lifting weights?
Is it surprising that I don’t think strength workouts are cross-training? In reality, strength work is just part of your training as an endurance athlete.
Cross-training is supplemental exercise that can be helpful to your running, swimming and cycling, but just like form drills, strides, or dynamic flexibility exercises, strength training is an integral part of how to train distance runners.
Just look at how pro runners and triathletes train – ALL of them lift!
If you’re not strength training, then you’re not training.
Skeptical? Let’s break down the science.
Lifting Prevents Injuries
If you struggle with injuries, lifting weights is perhaps the most valuable thing you can do to stay healthy.
With the annual injury rate among runners around 70-80%, focusing on a proven prevention strategy is a imperative.
Your tendons, bones, ligaments, and connective tissues will get tougher and better able to withstand the repetitive impact forces of running.
Stronger muscles don’t get as sore or break down as easily. With a runner/cycling-specific lifting program, you’ll recover faster from long rides and long runs (making training a lot easier!).
You don’t need to spend several hours in the gym – just two sessions per week are all you need.
Lifting Improves Your Economy
Not only does a high-quality strength program prevent injuries, but it will help you train more efficiently.
That means you’ll use less energy to run and bike the same pace or distance. Who doesn’t want that?
As your muscles get stronger and better able to recruit more muscle fibers, you’ll have a more powerful stride, and improved economy. That’s because you’ll have more muscle fibers available to you – so if you get tired, your body has a larger fiber pool to choose from.
The end result? Less fatigue, more power, and faster finishing times.
Lifting Makes You Faster
Lift explosively and you’ll soon to be able to run explosively.
Other than delaying fatigue or preventing injuries, the other big benefit to lifting is that you’ll be able to sprint faster at the end of a race.
Several powerful factors make lifting a great tool for speed:
- You’ll recruit more muscle fibers, increasing your capacity for speed
- Higher muscle tension means your legs will return more energy – making you run faster with the same level of effort
- Better economy and coordination gives you a smoother, more powerful stride
If you’ve ever struggled to finish strong at the end of a race – to find that “higher gear” to power through the finish – then the lifting workouts in this program will give you the strength to smash through your next finish line.
Soon, you’ll be passing all of your competitors before getting that new PR!
Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun
Coach Patty B