Spoiler alert: there does not really seem to be a consensus on whether or not strength training will actually improve your speed as a runner. That being said, there are possible benefits to strength training for runners. Read on to find out what they are!
I’m linking up with My First 5K and More, Running With Attitude, Runs with Pugs, Zenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday. Today I’m sharing 5 reasons strength training might help you become speedier. Keep in mind I am not a researcher, doctor, or personal trainer.
1: It makes you powerful
Building the right muscles will help you to get explosive — aka fast. This can help you start strong — and stay strong — and ultimately run faster. If this is what you’re after, try plyometric exercises.
2: It can help prevent injuries
Think about what happens when you run: you are essentially hopping from one single legged squat to another. If you’re legs aren’t strong enough to perform these movements, or fatigue quickly, what do you suppose your chance of injury might be?
If you dig online, you will of course find those that say strength training really won’t help you as a runner, but you will also find many, many reputable experts that insist that it does. I say try it for yourself and see what you think. IOW, don’t knock it til you try it!
3: It improves running economy
Running economy means you use less oxygen to maintain your pace.
4: It can improve your running form
Every notice how your shoulders creep up towards your ears by the end of a race? Yeah, that’s poor running form. When our running form falls apart, we’re usually tensing up somewhere — and that can use up the energy we want to use for running.
If form is important to you, make sure you do those core exercises — everything moves from our core. A weak core can mean your running form will fall apart sooner rather than later.
5: It may help you hold off fatigue
This comes back to point #4 — strong muscles will not fatigue as quickly as weak ones, allowing you to hold a better running form longer. This means your run will feel easier. You’ve run hard and easy runs — which feel better to you?
I personally do think that strength training is important for everyone, but in my research I also came across an interesting article (to read it click here) that claims strength training won’t improve your running, and may even hinder it. The author makes some interesting points, and hey, if you don’t want to strength train, you’re gonna love this article!
The jury is still out on whether strength training will make you faster, but I believe that the benefits of strength training are important for everyone:
- Helps you in your functional fitness in your day to day life
- Helps improve bone strength
- Maintain or build muscle, which we tend to lose as we age
- May help increase your cognitive ability
- May help you sleep better
- Helps improve blood sugar control
This list is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of strength training. I don’t know about you, but these all sound like really good things to me!
You do not have to spend hours at home or at the gym,, either. Just 10 – 15 minutes a day could make a huge difference in your life. Check out these workouts from Confessions of a Mother Runner here, or from Coach Debbie Runs here.
Share with me a story about strength training & how it’s helped your runs
How do you find the time to fit in strength training?
What types of strength training do you enjoy?