You run. You’re gaining strength with every step you take. So why do you need to do more?
It’s not that you need to strength train, but after reading this you very well may want to. And you don’t need to become a gym rat to reap the benefits. You can integrate exercises that use only your body weight into your weekly routine. Here’s what you stand to gain.
It’s no secret: running, though great, can be hard on your body. The repetitive motion (again, wonderfully meditative) can cause overuse injuries and sideline you. Strength training is a fantastic way for runners to become more durable.
Strength training fortifies muscles and connective tissue—the ligaments and tendons holding your bones and muscles together—and increases your mobility and overall range-of-motion. Strength training also improves your balance.
For runners who tend to feel out of alignment, or suffer from frequent injuries, strength training is like preventative physical therapy. It can help rehab aches or pains, and add a level of injury protection to help maintain healthy running form.
Increased all-over body strength can actually make you a better runner.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded that low- to high-intensity resistance training and plyometrics sessions done two to three times a week for 8 to 10 weeks improved running economy (running faster with less effort) for highly trained athletes.
A 2018 study in the Sports Medicine Journal found that adding two or three strength training sessions per week was “likely to provide benefits to the performance of middle- and long-distance runners.”
With increased strength, our bodies don’t have to work as hard to maintain certain paces. Basically, the stronger we are, the easier running can feel.