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Why strength training is crucial for improved running performance

Lisa Tamati

Posted on January 04 2018

Why strength training is crucial for improved running performance

In order to improve your running performance runners need to have a comprehensive strength training regime.
Improving speed, running efficiency (i.e. few calories burnt for the same distance and less oxygen required), technique, form and posture doesn’t necessarily happen by just clocking up more and more miles on your strata account. 
Research studies have shown strength training including the likes of plyometric jumping, heavy weight training, endurance based high intensity weight sessions, explosive training sessions, TRX, Crossfit and the like, improves muscle strength, endurance, power, balance, mobility and coordination. They have also proven a strong link to decreased risk of injury. Especially common running injuries like shin splints, hamstring tears, anterior knee pain, Achilles tendinopathy, weak gluten, back injuries etc.

So how often should you substitute a day on the trails for a session in the gym or body weight exercises. Studies suggest 2 to 3 times a week is all you need. Regular sessions like this done consistently over a three month period will see you make significant gains.  

Strength training is also in general an important part of any fitness regime. This is especially true as we age. Strength training helps your body deal with the impact of running, helps you retain muscle mass, (a problem as we age) and is a great anti ageing strategy.  It also helps you retain balance in the body. 
Often runners have incredibly strong legs but a weak upper body, weak core etc and this can lead to postural problems, muscle wastage etc. Being all over functionally fit is something we should all be aiming for.

To give you some examples of how to build strength training into your regular routine we have put a list of resources, PDF’s and videos for you to watch or download. 

This first video is with Coach Neil Wagstaff at Running Hot Coaching who takes you through the proper form for some TRX suspension training exercises.

TRX video

Here is a PDF  and a video of a sample strength training work out. The PDF is located under the video and includes links to many more  videos explaining how to do the exercises correctly.

In this video I take you through a sample circuit training routine I use to build strength for those all important running muscles.

Thrusters - Weight Training

In  this video Neil takes through a typical body weight strength and conditioning session.

We hope these will give you some ideas for workouts and you can feel the benefits of having a stronger, more functional body ready to withstand the rigors of your running programmes.
To join our online coaching academy please visit we would love the chance to help you achieve your running dreams. 


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