Many runners think that the only way to improve their running is to do more running. Whilst specificity in training is no doubt important, strength training is a vital addition to the road-work that every runner does. Weight training strengthens muscles and joints which can improve your times, improve recovery and decrease the likelihood of running injuries.

Running faster is easier if your whole body is working with you. Having stronger legs and core muscles are vital to running improvement.

Runners need a strength-training workout that targets the muscle groups to keep them balanced.

These four basic principles will help you not only improve your running but ensure you are heading towards those better times.

  1. Train your back: Training the muscles of the posterior chain is vitally important for runners. The muscles on the back of your legs propel you forward and the muscles on the back of your upper body make you able to maintain an upright running stance. A strong upright posture and balanced strong leg muscles help achieve an efficient running style. Weak or imbalanced leg muscles can also transfer stress to the knee joint increasing likelihood of running injury.
  2. Focus on your core: All movement initiates from the core. A strong core will improve your performance and training rotation exercises not only work the core but also strengthen hips. This strength will ensure you develop a powerful stride that serves you well in distance running and power at the finish line.
  3. Variety: People tend to gravitate toward workouts that they like, those that emphasise their natural abilities. Most runners are comfortable with endurance type exercise and in the gym naturally tend towards the high repetition, low weight methodology. Including some heavy weight sessions is important when you are trying to increase strength. Increasing your running strength can make you more efficient on hills and rough terrain as well as on those longer flat runs.
  4. Efficiency: Most runners spend a fair amount of their training time actually on the road. As a runner you’ll need a program that won’t eat into your road time. Compound exercises, those that are multi-joint movements, are more time efficient than isolated single joint exercises. Squat variations, lunges and step variations are going to work more muscles and be more relevant than bicep curls or tricep dips. Another way to get the most from a workout is to combine two movements into one. Try these examples below:
    • Overhead lunge
    • Fitball jackknife
    • Alternating dumbbell row
    • Fitball knee drive
    • Back extension trap raise

Strength Exercises

For participants in this year’s Corporate Cup, Goodlife is offering free access to selected gyms every Wednesday for the duration of the Cup. To check out this offer, click here