Beginners Guide to Strength Training for Runners:Tips & Tricks to Improve Performance and Decrease Injury
October 19, 2016
Running is one of the simplest ways to get back into shape, lose weight, and start regaining or maintaining your fitness level. However, it is also one of the easiest exercises to perform incorrectly and thus, one of the easiest ways to develop overuse injury. This guide is meant to provide you with a few tips on exercises to help decrease your likelihood of injury, improve your running mechanics, and boost your performance.
1. Mind-Muscle Connection
The human body is amazing at creating motion, even when disadvantageous. This means that any exercise can be performed improperly due to a miscommunication from your mind to the correct muscles. It is important to think about which muscles ARE performing an exercise and which ones SHOULD BE performing an exercise.
2. Think about your Butt!
The glutes are arguably the most important set of musculature when it comes to running. They provide the stability at the hips to keep your body from wavering during each step and they provide the explosive power to propel you forward. If your glutes aren’t working, you aren’t running.
3. Stability and Balance
In order to complete a stride the body must be stable enough to take every step without wavering. Balance training or unstable surface training (think barefoot, BOSU ball, etc) will help build the stability at the foot,ankle, knee, hips, and core for you to run better.
4. Unilateral Exercise
Running occurs on one foot. You MUST train your body one side at a time, especially for lower body exercise, to help equalize strength and balance from one side to the other.
Stretching is one of the best ways to prevent tight or overactive musculature from causing pain or developing into injury. Stretch before and after exercise as well as perform strength training exercises throughout their full range of motion. Foam rolling is great as well!
6. P = F x V
Power is the result of force multiplied by velocity. In running terms, this means that the more strength and speed you can put into each step, the faster you will run. When strength training, think about adding plyometrics or performing some sets and reps as fast as possible to improve your power output.
7. Running is a total body exercise
Running requires muscular engagement from all over the human body. From the supporting structures of the foot arch all the way to the postural muscles surrounding the scapula, each muscle plays its part in helping you move forward (or lateral, or backwards), which means, you MUST train and workout more than just your legs!
Here is a quick example of a workout you can do to work on each of the foundations above.
**This workout assumes no current injury**
- Foam roll Quadriceps, Hip Flexors, Calves, Lower Back, Hips and Glutes.
- Perform dynamic stretching of aforementioned muscle groups
Perform the following list of exercises in a circuit fashion, completing one set of every exercise before beginning the second round of each exercise.
For more information, please visit www.chapelhilltraining.com to learn more about how you can improve your running performance! Also, be sure to check out our blog for more in depth directions on how to properly perform the exercises above.