If you want to be a decent runner, you need to run, right? Well yes, but if you are looking to become a great runner you may need to look elsewhere. It is a common misconception that lifting weights will make you bulky, heavy and slow. On the contrary, appropriate resistance training can improve, speed, power, strength, endurance and even technique.
Resistance training, in particular squatting, has been used for running for a number of years. In the book Training Distance Runners, By David Martin and Peter Coe (1994), there is a picture of American cross-country runner Pat Porter performing a back squat. However, many people still opt out of the gym and pound the pavement in search of improved performance.
The Benefits of Resistance Training
There are many benefits of performing resistance training in the gym. Continuing with the example of a back squat. When performed with correct technique, the back squat promotes spinal alignment, correct breathing and bracing along with stability of the lower limbs when correctly aligned.
Adding weight also has a number of benefits. Every step in running can put up to 3-4x bodyweight through your body! Squatting heavy weight can begin to replicate this and condition the muscles and connective tissues to deal with the increased stress.
Now combine improved strength and ability to deal with stress, with correct bracing and alignment. Because of this you will have more power and an efficient technique. Overall you will have a better running economy, as you will be expending and wasting less energy with each step.
What, When and How Much?
It can be hard to just rock up a gym and start, you may not even know where to begin. Firstly, technique is king, there is no point in loading the bar up and banging out some half reps with your knees caving in on every rep. Try simple adding them into your warm up when you run! When you’re confident and happy with your technique give it a go with a barbell. Try this:
3×10 reps with just the bar, twice a week.
4×8 reps with a comfortable weight, twice a week.
5×5 reps with a weight that requires hard effort, twice a week.
Designing client appropriate resistance training programmes is one of the most important roles at NK Fitness. If you would like our Leading Personal Trainers in Hampton to design a specific programme for you then please contact us here.