Today we are continuing our trip down strength training lane.
If you missed Vol 1 of the Strength Training FAQs, go ahead and check it out.
In that episode, I focused on some scheduling/logistical concerns related to balancing strength training with your running.
Today, we are going to look at a few myths related to strength training for runners.
Common Strength Training Myths
If you didn’t enjoy watching some Mythbusters on occasion, I don’t know what to tell you.
That show was fricking awesome! And not just because they pretty much blew something up every episode.
Some of the myths they tackled on that show were pretty obviously false. But every so often, they’d tackle a myth that was widely accepted as truth and prove it to be completely false.
And that’s what I’m doing today.
Myth: Too much strength training is going to lead to additional muscle mass/weight gain.
If you don’t read any more of this post, please at least read the following statement:
You will NOT gain mass/weight from strength training by accident.
Strength training is obviously a requirement to adding additional muscle tissue, but you know what else is required? Calories.
Lots of calories.
If you don’t dramatically increase your calorie intake, your body isn’t going to be able to build a bunch of new muscle tissue.
Could you burn a bit of stored body fat to provide the fuel needed to add some muscle?
But turning excess fat into muscle is hardly a bad thing.
And, perhaps more importantly, turning fat into muscle doesn’t result in you adding any weight to your frame.
Myth: Low weights/high reps is the best method of strength training for runners.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with lightweight or body weight exercises.
However, there is plenty of value for us as runners to lifting heavier weights as well.
What strength training does, in a relatively simplistic way, is rewire your brain.
The first change your body makes when you begin strength training is neuromuscular.
Meaning, your brain recruits additional muscle fibers to do the job.
So, the more resistance you use the more muscle fibers your brain recruits.
The more consistently you are strength training, the more ingrained these neuromuscular connections become.
What does this mean to you as a runner?
Say you’re doing some heavy squats, lunges, and other exercises that help your glutes to fire more strongly.
Now when you’re running, the connection between your brain and your ass is strong.
This helps keep your glutes engaged for your entire run, which helps you maintain good form and able to keep powering forward toward the finish line.
So, back to the myth.
Which is better at creating increased neuromuscular activation? Light weights or heavy weights?
Does that mean lighter weights and higher reps is useless?
Not at all.
Both styles of lifting are beneficial. Both are definitely better than none.
And, in a perfect world, you’d do a bit of both on a regular basis.
Myth: Strength training workouts need to be 30+ minutes in order to be beneficial.
So many people say they are too busy to add strength training to the routine.
I’m assuming the reason for using “busy” as an excuse is the idea that you need to spend X amount of time strength training in order to get any value from it.
If you are getting after it, 10 minutes will kick your ass!
Don’t have 10 minutes?
That’s cool too.
Do a set of squats. Or pushups. Or pull-ups.
Drop down and do a 30-second plank.
The point is, you can get a benefit from doing your strength training in chunks that are, literally, less than a minute in duration.
The key? Doing those little chunks regularly.
If you do one minute of strength training a week, that probably isn’t going to move the needle very much.
But 10-15 chunks a day, every day?
That’s a substantial bit of strength training right there!
And I don’t care who you are or how busy you might be, you have way more than 10 one-minute blocks available to you every day.
The Biggest Myth of All
The granddaddy of all strength training for runners myths is simply that strength training isn’t important for runners.
I hope you know by now that couldn’t be farther from the truth!
But if you’re still on the fence, let me tell you once and for all that regular strength training will make you a better runner.
What Strength Training Questions can I Answer for You?
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