For the runners out there…
We design a lot of strength and conditioning programs for runners. The list includes track athletes, cross country runners, marathoners, ironman competitors, weekend warriors, and the casual partaker.
No matter where you fall on this spectrum, please understand this…
Despite common misperceptions, it takes an immense amount of strength to run. In fact, every time you take a stride, your body is required to absorb and dissipate around 2-3x of force from your own body weight.
With that said, it’s essential to partake in resistance training in order to improve performance and reduce injury.
If you’re primary form of exercise is running, I do not believe you should use weightlifting for the following goals:
1. Burn calories
2. Significantly increase heart rate (this may happen as a byproduct of an intense lifting exercise, but shouldn’t be the primary goal)
3. Perform randomized circuits
4. Focus on “sweating”
5. Perform exercises until cardiovascular fatigue
Rather the goals should be aligned with the following:
1. Increase force production
2. Improve bone density/tissue resiliency
3. Perform joint specific training
4. Injury mitigation
5. Specific range of motion development
Many of the programs I see for runners are more appropriate for early stage physical therapy of a specific injury, rather than a someone who is about to put 2-3x body weight force through their joints.
Rather than band walks and planks (not bad, just not priority), don’t shy away from lifting heavier loads. By lifting heavy and incorporating functional movement patterns like squatting, lunging, and pulling, you’ll appropriately train your tissue to produce more force and increase resiliency.
Bottom line, don’t be afraid to throw some weight on the bar and push yourself. Your runs will thank you.