As runners, we know that hitting the pavement, trail, or track is one of the best ways to stay in shape and clear our minds. But did you know that incorporating strength training into your routine can greatly enhance your running performance?
Research has shown that strength training can improve running in a variety of ways. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of strength training for runners and provide five exercises that can help you achieve your goals.
4 Benefits of Strength Training for Runners
1. Improved Running Economy
This might be the biggest benefit of all. Running economy is basically the amount of energy it takes for you to maintain a certain pace. The more efficient your running form is, the less energy you use and the faster and farther you can go. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that runners who did 8 weeks of strength training improved their running economy by 5%. That might not sound like a lot, but trust us, it adds up.
2. Reduced Risk of Injury
As a runner, you're probably familiar with the nagging aches and pains that come with pounding the pavement day after day. Strength training can help reduce your risk of injury by improving your overall body strength, balance, and stability. A study published in British Journal of Sports Medicine found that runners who did strength training exercises for their hips, knees, and ankles reduced the likelihood of injuries to less than 1/3, and overuse injuries to almost a half.
3. Increased Power
Power is the ability to produce force quickly, and it's essential for runners. Think about it: every time your foot hits the ground, you're absorbing force and then using it to propel yourself forward. The more power you have, the easier it is to maintain your pace and push through hills and other challenges. A study published in Sports, an international, peer-reviewed journal, found that runners who did plyometric exercises (explosive, jumping movements like box jumps and single-leg hops) improved their running economy and power.
4. Improved Mental Toughness
Running is not just a physical activity, it also requires mental strength and resilience. Strength training can help improve your mental toughness by pushing you out of your comfort zone and building confidence in your abilities.
5 Exercises for Runners
Now that you're convinced that strength training is worth your time, let's talk about some exercises that you should be doing. We recommend training your entire body, but here are 5 lower body exercises that can have a major impact on your running.
Squats are a classic exercise that work your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core. They're great for building overall lower body strength.
Lunges are another great lower body exercise that work your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. They also help improve your balance and stability.
3. Calf Raises
Calf raises are an effective method for strengthening the muscles and connective tissue surrounding your ankle, such as the Achilles Tendon, whether you perform them on one leg or both.
4. Single-Leg Deadlifts
Single-leg deadlifts are a variation of the deadlift that work your hamstrings, glutes, and balance. They're great for improving stability and preventing injury.
5. Single and Double Leg Hops
These are great for improving power and explosiveness. They also help improve running economy by teaching your muscles to contract quickly.
The Finish Line
So there you have it, my friends. Strength training is the missing piece of the puzzle for many runners. By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you'll improve your running economy, reduce your risk of injury, and increase your power. Plus, you'll be learning yet another habit that will lead to a longer, higher quality life!
If you're unsure on how to get started with a strength training program, then look no further then Stoked Athletics! You can get started today with a trial for only $49! Click here to learn more!