Why Should I Strength Train as a Runner?

by Leah Forrestall

Running season and nicer weather are officially here! So now might be a great time to reflect on what your running routine entails! Many runners, both leisure and semi-competitive, don’t include strength training into their exercise routine! If this sounds like you, keep reading…

Strength training is an extremely important component for becoming a better, stronger, and faster runner. Contrary to what many believe, strength training will not make you ‘heavier’ or ‘slower’ and can in fact do the opposite by aiding in power production while you run. Including strength training as a runner is also paramount in preventing running-related overuse injuries, which can creep up throughout your training season.

Overuse injuries occur when the tissues in our body can no longer withstand the load we are placing on them. This can happen for a number of reasons including load error (doing too much too quick), change in environment (drastic change in running surface or footwear), gradual weakness (limited strength training, only using certain muscles and neglecting others), and/or poor recovery (poor sleep, poor diet, overtraining, etc.).

Some classic overuse running-related injuries include: plantar fasciitis, shin splints, patellofemoral pain syndrome, IT band syndrome, gluteal tendon pain, and Achilles tendon pain, just to name a few.

Fear not! Including strength training into your running routine will set you up for success and is a great thing to include to proactively avoid an overuse injury!

Some examples of strength training for runners include:

  1. Step ups (slow up and down)
  2. Single Leg squat to a chair
  3. Heel raises, single leg and double leg (slow on the way down)
  4. Tip toe walking with weight
  5. Side to side Band walks (band around ankles)
  6. Single leg bridges
  7. Side plank holds
  8. Lunges

Although this is not a complete list of options, and certain exercises may suit you better than others, it’s important to include exercises that target all running muscles (calves, feet, thighs, glutes, core). These exercises are not meant to be extremely heavy or difficult and require very little equipment. Running strength training should be done to compliment your running routine, not burn you out. Therefore, strength training should be completed 2-3x per week. (Disclaimer: These are just general suggestions and may not be best for you, your body, or your training schedule).

If you would like to learn more about how to structure a specific strength training program into your running routine pop in to see me at Synergy East! Happy Running!

Leah Forrestall

Leah Forrestall

Physio Therapist

You can book with author and Registered Physiotherapist, Leah Forrestall, through our website HERE or by calling the clinic at 416-551-8715.

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