No matter what sport you are involved in your number one goal should be to do activities that will make you better at that sport. For example, if you want to be a better basketball player than you should probably practice shooting baskets and dribbling.
If you want to be a better runner the MOST important “running specific” activity you can do is of course RUNNING! Running consistently and injury free is very important if you want to improve. That is just one HUGE benefit of strength training.
If you add just two days per week of “running specific” strength training into your routine your chances of getting injured are greatly reduced. It is important to note that you really want to do strength moves that are specific to running.
For example, focusing on joint mobility exercises and moves that mimic your arm motion with running. General strength can help, but running specific strength training is even better! When you go beyond your physical abilities and become injured, it will set you back in your running more than if you took a little extra time to do some strength training to prevent injury. All too often runners undertake a strength training program only when forced to do so in rehabilitation. Once rehabilitated, they begin to run at their regular speed and ignore the strength training. In time, they begin to feel so good from development of their aerobic abilities, they push themselves to go farther or faster, only to once again get injured. Stop the cycle!
Strength training builds lean muscle mass. Muscle burns fat (calories) more efficiently than fat does. By adding 2 days of strength training per week you can significantly increase your muscle mass and thus help your body more efficiently burn calories! Translation: weight loss!
“Fat burns almost nothing at rest”, says exercise physiologist Pete McCall, “whereas muscle uses oxygen. If you increase lean muscle mass, you’ll increase the body’s ability to use oxygen and burn more calories.”
Your body typically uses about 4.5 to 7 calories per pound of muscle every day. If a 160-pound runner with 20 percent body fat increases his muscle mass and lowers his body fat to 15 percent, he’ll burn an extra 36 to 56 calories a day at rest—simply by adding muscle.
Running Economy (Efficiency)
Lifting weights also makes you more economical (or “efficient”). This can translate into the “real feel” of a run — does it feel easy and smooth or awkward and hard? The more efficient you are, the less you have to “work”, and you can run faster for longer periods of time. While other factors such as running volume can contribute to your running economy and efficiency, strength training has a direct impact. Consistent running specific strength training improves neuromuscular coordination, which means better running economy becomes more ingrained and more natural over time. Strength training has been shown to improve a trained runner’s economy by
as much as 8%.
There’s no question that strength training has a ton of great physical benefits, but the mental benefits are just as, if not more, important. Strength training helps you achieve the most drastic and measurable results, helping to achieve improved body image, self-perception and sense of accomplishment.
You’ll be proud of your progress AND you’ll impress your friends. Double score! It also increases norepinephrine, which can boost your brain’s ability to cope with stress. Feeling stressed? Start squatting!
A strong core helps runners with their stability, balance, posture and overall control. Overall, core strength training reinforces the way that your pelvis, abs, hips and lower back work together. When you are outside running up and down hills or even on flat terrain your quadricep and hamstring muscles will trade off with which muscle group are working harder. Meaning while your hamstrings work harder your quadriceps get a break and vice versa. But you do you know what always stays
engaged during your entire run? Your core! So, the stronger you can make your core the better your running posture and efficiency will be. Just two days per week of running specific strength and core exercises can greatly improve your core strength. We design our programs to concentrate on running specific and core related moves.