How Often Should Runners Strength Train? This Pie Chart Breaks It Down.

by | Feb 26, 2019

Whether you’re training for your first race or your 50th, strength training should be an integral part of your preparation.

Not only will strength training prevent injuries, but it will also build the muscle power and endurance you need to run faster for longer (which is the ultimate goal, right?).

So how much strength training is enough? Well, it depends on how many hours a week you run.

When planning your training week, the key is to include a lot of variety. That means planning speed sessions, tempo runs, slow runs as well as strength sessions. What you don’t want to do is simply go out and run as far as you can every day. This is a bad idea for any runner and will quickly leave you feeling worn out and injured.

As a Physio, I have this conversation with my patients daily. The biggest concern I hear back is that there isn’t enough time to fit ‘everything’ in. But it’s not about adding more to your routine, it’s about being smarter with the time you‘re already spending training.

This pie chart gives you an example of how you should divide your training time.

The chart includes 5 different training modes — (1) slow, conversational runs, (2) tempo/interval runs, (3) speed work, (4) strength training and, (5) active recovery.

Each of these is important and should be included in your training routine. So let’s look at a training example using this formula. Here’s how a runner with 5.5 weekly training hours would divide their time:

  • 2 hours of slow, conversational pace running
  • 1 hour of tempo, interval or hill running
  • 20 minutes of fast speed work
  • 1.5 hours of strength training
  • 30 minutes of active recovery (yoga or stretching)

However, this isn’t a hard-set formula and will not suit every runner. It is a guide that will work well for many runners but will need to be adjusted for the specific needs of each runner’s goals.

For example, a beginner runner should initially spend a greater percentage of their time strength training and building a base of athletism before adding in more running.

On the contrary, an ultramarathoner running 10+ hours a week will be able to reduce their strength training percentage while still completing in 2–3 sessions a week.

The Takeaway Messages

  1. Include different running intensities in each week’s schedule
  2. Prioritize strength training — include a minimum of 2 sessions every week
  3. Adjust your training percentages if needed or consult with a professional

Thanks For Reading!

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ABOUT ALINA KENNEDY

ABOUT ALINA KENNEDY

Alina is an Australian Physiotherapist, Strength & Conditioning Specialist and avid runner. She works exclusively with runners in injury rehabilitation, prevention and performance improvement. Learn More Here

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