Strength Training For Runners

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • Read part 1 of this series, "Five Minutes of Running Can Add Years to Your Life," 


    Runners have a tendency to get hurt. As a matter of fact, runners have a pretty high tendency for getting hurt. Some statistics have the annual injury rate for runners as high as 66 percent. There are things a person can do to avoid injuring herself when she runs, and one of those things is a modest 10 to 20 minutes per day of strength training. 


    Strength training for runners will be beneficial for both injury prevention and structural fitness. It will help bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles withstand the impact of running. If you include heavy resisitance exercises to the program, you will be faster for the final sprint at the end of a race. 

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    Strength training is most important for runners who are prone to injury, or marathoners. It is important to counter the wear and tear with proper exercise. Runners need to exercise those muscles that keep them balanced as opposed to focusing on upper body strength.     


    The Runner's Program

    Compound, multi-joint exercises are recommended for runners, whereas they train movements and not necessarily muscles. Exercises that target the movements of real life such as bending down, pushing and pulling things, and picking things up are deadlifts, squats, pull-ups, chin-ups, bench press, and step-ups onto a platform.


    Compound movements can be complimented with bodyweight exercises that can improve balance, flexibility, and strength without the need for machinery. They can be done at home in your living room and will help you to recover from running as well as prevent injuries from overuse. Effective bodyweight exercises include lunges, planks, pistol squats, push-ups, side planks, bird-dogs, and side leg lifts. Each of these exercises helps to build core strength.


    Weak hips are the cause for most running injuries and a special problem for the sedentary crowd who spend extended periods of time in front of a computer screen. The ITB Rehab Routine will prove beneficial as it works well for treating and preventing IT band injuries and preventing injuries in general. It focuses on hip and glute strength. 


    Strength sessions require only three to five exercises of two to three sets each of four to eight repetitions per set. Heavy-weight routines are more demanding and should be done only once or twice per week.     



    Strength training should be done after a run on those days when the overall effort is moderate. Long run days tire a person and strength training afterward may lead to injury. Begin with five minutes of strength exercises after you run and increase over time. If you have committed to an easy day you should maintain that committment. Pushing yourself when you should be recovering can have bad results. 


    As you progress, you can begin adding repetitions or additional exercises. Do a variety of exercises to work multiple groups of muscles. Ten to 20 minutes of strength exercises on a daily basis will decrease the risk for injury by quite a bit and will allow you to run more and train faster.  


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    This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as advice. Always check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise to be sure it is appropriate for your level of physicial conditioning.


    My next post in this series will answer the question: Should you have a running coach? See you there! 


    Living life well-fed,

    My Bariatric Life


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Published On: August 21, 2014