How to be a Stronger Runner - Movement-Rx

How to be a Stronger Runner

When you hit that wall in a workout or race, do you ever wonder how you can be a stronger runner? 

You’re running hard, feeling good, then BAM!  That wall adds a ton of bricks to your feet and you can do nothing but trudge toward the finish line or next workout station.

Do you feel like you’ve plateaued in your training, and no matter how hard you push you’re not getting faster or finding those hills any easier? Do you keep pushing through the mechanics even though it just leaves you feeling worn down?  

It’s time to be a stronger runner.

Do you find yourself continually having to back off training because of injuries or nagging pain?

It’s time to be a stronger runner.

If any of these apply to you, your training might be to blame.

Let’s take a look at all of these questions and what YOU can be doing to be a stronger runner and stay injury free!

Strength Training for Runners

It might be time to reconsider your training plan if you’re only doing cardio, especially if that includes high volume running, and little to no strength training. Strengthening (with weights!) helps improve your running economy, which is basically how easy is it for your body to run at a given speed. Many factors go into your running economy, but strengthening improves it on multiple fronts, most notably by improving your biomechanics and muscle firing. When you are able to use more muscle fibers you don’t fatigue as easily as if you were overworking a smaller number of fibers). 1,2,3,4

stronger runner

Now what type of strength training is best to add into your training plan?

Many runners turn to HIIT and circuit training for their strengthening. Ultimately, using this type of training as strengthening in addition to your running can be more detrimental than helpful. These workouts tax the same system you use for your higher intensity runs, so if you’re tacking on 1-2 HIIT workouts in addition to 1-2 speed/hill workouts each week, you may quickly find yourself overtrained or injured if you’re also running moderate to high mileage (50-80+ mi/week).

There are two key things to consider if you ARE doing HIIT workouts.

  1. Focus on form before speed–don’t let your movements suffer because you’re trying to beat the clock (or your neighbor).
  2. Consider replacing some of your speed/hill work with your HIIT workouts instead of adding it on, or decrease the duration of your hard run workouts.

Overall, it has been shown that adding in weight training 2-3x/wk – and not HIIT workouts – improved runners’ speed to a larger degree. This includes movements such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, as well as upper body and core.

To learn more about the best exercises to get you to be a stronger runner and stay injury free, register for our Running Rx Clinic on November 16th in Kearny Mesa! We’ll go over form for strengthening and how to add it into your training plan!

Related Post: What can you do to avoid overtraining as a runner?



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