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Training Tip Tuesday – Strength

Strength may seem an odd place to start a series of running training tip blogs, but being strong enough to get yourself round can make or break an event, and even determines whether you make it to the start line in the first place!

Stronger runners are *generally* less frequently injured runners (there are exceptions to this, I can think of a couple of people as I write who are strong as anything and still manage to break on a semi-regular basis). Less frequently injured runners can put in more consistent training, make more progress, and ready themselves better for their chosen event. And particularly thinking about ultra distance events, sufficient strength to get you round is a really important element of the whole race.

So what should strength for runners look like? For me, as a running coach who comes from a strength and conditioning background, there are several considerations:

  • The strength training you do should supplement your running. It should be done at a level that makes you aware you’ve done it but doesn’t leave you shuffling down the stairs on your bum for three days. If you are working to the point that the strength is having a detrimental effect on your running then it isn’t really helping is it? (That being said, expect to ache a bit the first couple of times you do a strength workout, as it is new and your body won’t quite know what to do!)
  • The exercises you do should be specific to running. Squatting and bench pressing weights will help your fitness and strength, but how will they specifically help your running? Think about the movements you make when you run, and choose exercises that replicate these as much as possible.
  • Target core and leg exercises. These are the key bits we use (or at least should use well) as runners. A strong core gives us a stable base to push against when we move, and strong legs will carry us that bit further before we are at risk of injury.
  • Focus on technique over difficulty. There is no point doing 30 reps of an exercise and doing them all with poor technique, all you’ll do is ingrain an inefficient and possibly damaging movement pattern. I would much rather see 5 good reps and a runner who isn’t unduly stressing joints and tissues.

Now is the perfect time to introduce some strength to your routine if you don’t have it in there already. We are far enough out from the Dig Deep races for your body to get used to it and make adaptations ahead of race day.

If you need a bit of help with what you should be doing then join in with one of the weekly strength classes detailed here.

Happy Running, Laura :)

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