When it comes to distance training, there are many elements that will determine your success. I talk below about why strength training should be a part of your distance training programme:
1- Aids in injury prevention:
If your muscles aren’t prepared to handle the load of consistent bounding in running, stress gets absorbed elsewhere including bones and connective tissue. Under-active glutes for example can lead to excessive use of hamstrings leading to strains and all sorts of knee pain. Instability and lack of strength in the hips/pelvis can also cause instability through the knees and ankles making runners more susceptible to injuries in those areas. Strength training incorporates glute and core activation that’s helps alleviate any discrepancies within the bodies leading to a reduced risk of injury.
2- Increase in mobility and flexibility:
A huge range of overuse injuries in runners are linked to lack of mobility and flexibility. For example shin splints. Functional strength exercises in the gym can aid with reducing the risk of such injuries by improving your body’s movement patterns. Being able to do basic movements patterns such as squats and lunges are compound movements that require high levels of mobility and if done for reps with added weight can very quickly aid in reducing the susceptibility to injury as well as increasing the body’s efficiency through multi joint movements.
3- Make you stronger, faster and more efficient:
Strength training increases your bone density, increases the strength of muscles, ligaments and tendons and in turn allows your body to be in more control when in full momentum. With your body working in the correct way and all muscles strong enough to work properly and do their job correctly, your whole body becomes more efficient. Running is a bodyweight sport that relies heavily on the runners’ relative strength, or strength relative to a runner’s particular bodyweight. Being strong enough to control your bodyweight and more, through a range of compound movements and single leg work will make you more efficient during running. Building relative strength helps runners absorb force better when their feet crash onto the road and produce force to propel themselves back off the ground. Every bit of energy you create from your head to your toes travels efficiently through your body to help propel you forward stride after stride. You won’t lose any energy through instability or lack of coordination.
Although running is a bodyweight sport, we all still weigh something. And that amount of kilos is being placed specifically through our lower body muscles and joints with no assistance, through one leg at a time as well as momentum. With increased strength your running gate improves, you’re able to take less strides yet cover a further distance. Win win situation.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the benefits of strength training for distance training then you know where to find me.
Better Body Group, Sevenoaks