Best Strength Training Exercises for Your Distance Training

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Pixmac000069034729If you have ever purchased a distance training program you’ve seen the familiar schedule before.  Generally, it’s 4 days of running various distances, a cross-training day, and two rest days.

Not every program includes strength training among its scheduled training.  Even if it did, do you know what strength training exercises will best enhance your running performance?

Learn why it’s important to include strength training in your distance training program and a few favorites from our experts.


Why is Strength Training Important for runners?

It is super important to strength train for running even though you leg muscles are used regularly while running. There are many reasons, which I’ll share a few here and if you want more info, let me know. First of all, most people have an unstable spine and hips. This is where many people get low back pain, hip pain, IT band pain and knee pain with running.

To stabilize these joints, strength training is needed. Running cannot do this, since you are not spending enough time on each leg to develop your stabilizing muscles properly. As well, one does not have enough time, during the support phase of a running stride to properly line up the body so that these muscles are worked properly. On top of this, in order to improve performance, strength training will train the muscles involved in propulsion at an intensity that is impossible to reach in running, therefore developing higher levels of strength and power as well as endurance. This, of course, will contribute to improved performance.

The muscles, if you use a smart training plan, will not be overtrained since you generally use different energy systems with running than what you would use with weights. This inflicts a different stimulus on the muscles, so that it can recover from running while you are weight training and vice versa (that’s a basic explanation).

Carlo Celotti MSc, CSCS, Strength and Conditioning Coach and Holistic Nutritionist, Total Performance

It’s Not ALL About The Miles

Contrary to popular belief, distance athletes will benefit from strength and resistance training. The hip rotators, gluteals, and lower back are extremely important in assisting the prime movers such as the hamstrings and quadriceps. These prime movers will fatigue after time and the supporting muscle groups, if conditioned well will assist the athlete to go that extra mile.

My favorite strength session is actually incorporated into my run;

10 min warm up jog & light stretches
1 min walking lunges
4 min run

Complete each 5 minute block of lunges and running between 8-10 times for advanced, 6-8 for intermediate, and 4-6 for beginner. Try this also on cross-country tracks and undulating ground to really condition those smaller supporting muscles.

As a former QLD marathon champion, I would not be as competitive as I am today without resistance training.

Mathew Skate, Health & Fitness Consultant, Weight to Life

How do you incorporate strength training exercises into your distance training?

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