How To Fit Strength Training Into Your Running Routine
Strength training is just as important as running in your routine. Evidence shows us that it plays a vital role in boosting speed, improving muscle endurance and preventing injuries. However, many runners struggle to fit in strength training into a busy schedule. In this article, I will share my tips for how to plan your week and ensure you get enough strength training around your running.
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How Often Do You Need To Strength Train?
2-3 x 30-minute sessions per week.
While this may seem like a lot, there is good scientific evidence that proves it is worth the investment. For example, in 2016, a large study found that runners who did 3 strength workouts a week for 12 weeks had significantly greater improvements in performance, compared to runners who only ran.
Example of a Balanced Training Week
Monday – Interval Runs + Strength Session
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – Tempo Run + Strength Session
Thursday – Cardio X-Training (Cycling/Swimming etc.) + Strength Session
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Long Run
Sunday – Rest
Related: How to Create a Half Marathon Training Plan
Should You Strength Train Before or After Running?
I recommend strength training after running or on rest days to ensure you have optimal energy for your runs. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove one time is necessarily better than the other. So, don’t stress too much about the timing. Find what works best for your schedule. The most important thing is that you do strength training, not when you do it.
What Kind Of Exercises Should You Do?
There are three key types of exercises every runner should do:
- Leg Strengthening
- Core & Balance
A common misconception is that running alone sufficiently strengthens leg muscles and weight training is unnecessary. However, for runners who want to improve performance, run faster and prevent leg injuries, additional leg strengthening is essential.
Exercises such as lunges, squats, and deadlifts are perfect for runners. They will increase leg strength allowing you to propel your body further and faster with each step.
Core & balance exercises strengthen the muscles of your abdominals, back, and glutes as well as improving your overall body stability and control.
Plyometrics are fast, explosive exercises like box jumps and burpees. Like speed work, plyometrics helps you develop power and speed.
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