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Strength Training & Runners

Runners are a funky bunch.

Image by Gamma Man via Flickr

Image by Gamma Man via Flickr

We have this thought in our minds that if we want to run longer races or get faster, we need to run more and run faster.

But we tend to forget one of the most important components of running farther and faster–strength training.

Runners Need Regular Strength Training

I don’t care what kind of race you’re running–from 5k all the way up to 100 miles–strength training needs to be a regular part of your routine.

At least it needs to if you want to get faster or run farther.

And strength training is a good way to avoid the injury bug as well.

Why Don’t More Runners Lift Weights?

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There are a number of reasons that many non-professional runners neglect lifting weights. But if you talk to most professional runners, no matter what distances they run, regular strength training sessions are just as important as logging their prescribed amount of miles.

The reasons that we skip strength training are many, but here are a few–

  • “I Don’t Want to Get Too Big”–This is an excuse used by many female runners, as well as some men. The thought behind this excuse is that by adding muscle size, it will actually get more difficult to run because you will have to carry around more weight. While this makes some sense logically, the fact is that if you are training properly you won’t add muscle mass, just strength and stamina. You know, the things that help you in the last third of your race.
  • “Strength Training Won’t Help Me Run Faster”–This excuse is shortsighted. In truth, just lifting weights won’t help you run faster. But by building up the strength of the muscles that you use to run, you will be able to train harder and run longer without tiring, both of which will help you improve your race times.
  • “I Don’t Have Time”–To be blunt, yes you do. You see, you don’t need to add 2-3 strength training workouts to your busy schedule to see the results. Instead, 2-3 15-20 minute sessions after a hard workout is enough to help you improve running economy, finishing kick, and stay injury free.
  • “I’ve Never Done Strength Training Before. Why Start Now?”–Seriously? We used to think the world was flat, that smoking cigarettes was safe, and that processed food was both convenient and nutritious. Just because you’ve always done something one way doesn’t mean it’s the only way or the best way. Give strength training a try, and see what happens.

There are so many reasons that strength training is important for runners of all speeds, sizes, and mileage levels that there really isn’t any good reason that you’re still putting off regular strength training.

But if you’re still not convinced, I’d love to know what is holding you back. Shoot me a message, and let’s have a conversation.

And make sure you check my next post, when I’ll be going over some of the many benefits of regular strength training in much more detail.

Altra Ambassador 2014

Just a quick post today letting yall in on a little secret I’ve been keeping for a few days.

Altra-BadgeI’ve been chosen to represent Altra Running for 2014 as one of their Altra Ambassadors. In case you missed one of my posts or tweets about how much I love their shoes since I made the switch to Altras a little over a year ago, don’t worry. I’ll be promoting them even more this year, but it’s really only because I love the shoes and I know they’ve worked wonders for me and my running.

Being an Ambassador is nice, but I’d still be trying to talk people into trying the shoes regardless. If you’re interested in more info, just let me know or check out their website.

And with a little luck, maybe FitNiche would allow a couple of pairs to be sold in the store? Is that asking too much?

 

Have You Ever Tried Altras, or Any Other Zero or Minimal Drop Shoe?

What Did You Think?

A Runner’s Knees

Stop me when this sounds familiar.

You’re talking to a non-runner about whatever. During the course of the conversation, the fact that you’re a runner comes up and the non-runner decides to stir the pot a little bit.

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Image by Pascal Maramis via Flickr

“You’ll be sorry you’ve been doing all that running one of these days, when your knees are shot, arthritic, and it hurts to even walk around for more than a few minutes!”

Really, non-runner?

I know I can’t be the only runner to ever have a conversation come to a screeching halt because of a statement similar to this. But what are you supposed to do? Someone who doesn’t run is telling me that something I enjoy, something that’s good for my health, and something that makes me feel better than I’ve ever felt before is telling me that running is going to make me miserable.

Am I’m supposed to just smile and carry on like it’s no big deal?

Are The Nay-Sayers Right?

I like to think they’re not.

Being a personal trainer, and coming from a sports medicine/athletic training background, I understand the physics and physiology about what the non-runners are claiming. Running puts a lot of stress on the body, and the longer you run (both in terms of distance and duration) the more stress your body has to endure.

Let me say this about that.

Our bodies are the most complex, amazing, and mind blowing machines ever. We are able to adapt like crazy, and these adaptations can help us stay healthy and continue to run for years.

If you get off the couch after years of sedentary behavior and go run a marathon, then you’re probably going to be hurting. Your knees, hips, ankles, feet, quads, hammies, calves, back, and glutes (did I miss anything?) will all be screaming at you.

But you didn’t give your body a chance to adapt to the demands you placed on it.

Instead, do a 5k. Then maybe a 10k. Build up your distance over time and follow a training plan. In the end, you’ll be able to make it a full 26.2 miles without feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck. Just give your body time to adapt and recover, and you’ll be surprised at what it can do.

If the nay-sayers won’t buy that well thought out argument concerning our body’s adaptability, hit them with a hay maker. A casual “Walking around obese and out of shape puts a lot more stress on one’s knees than running a marathon. So I’ll take my chances as a runner!”

That usually shuts them up.

An Ace in the Hole

However, as runners we now have an ace up our proverbial sleeves.

As I was reading through my new Running Times issues this morning, I saw a headline that made me do a double take. Turns out, “Running is Good For Your Knees”.

e9a2295b3db9b45c8f5484a09033c1c71cf88e3375bb7ff60456bc81c29a4e04Running does not cause osteoarthritis, according to a new study from the the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Their study showed that runners are actually less likely that walkers to have arthritis or need hip replacement surgery later in life.

So running can help you keep your knees and hips healthy instead of breaking them down. Yahtzee!

Just Don’t Be Stupid

Like anything, running too much can cause problems, so don’t overdo it.

Listen to your body, take a day or two off if you need to, and ramp up your mileage and intensity over time.

And the next time some clown tries to warn you about how your knees are eventually going to hate you for all this running you’re doing, just smile and let them in on the secret.

And then get back out there and hit the pavement.

How Do You Usually Respond When Someone Talks About Running Causing Arthritis and Knee Issues?


My First Night Race–Guest Post from Samantha Angelino Who Is Preparing for the 2013 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Welcome to Sam, who is my newest blog partner in my Run Bloggers Unite! project. If you’d like to partner with me, please let me know!

I hope you enjoy reading Sam’s take on getting ready to run the Wine and Dine Half Marathon for the first time, and click over to her blog to read my perspective as a Wine and Dine Veteran!

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Did I Screw Up My Marathon Training?

As someone who absolutely hates using marathon training plans, I’m pretty willy nilly when it comes to my running schedule while preparing for a race.

I know I need to get in a certain amount of miles per week, and that I need to do some regular long runs to get ready for a marathon. I’ve also learned from experience that I HAVE to get in a run of at least 22 miles prior to running my race. I’m not at all sure how people can be ready for a full 26.2 miles when the longest you’ve run to date is only 20 miles?!?!

Oh, it’s because your training plan said to only do a 20 miler. Have fun on race day, bud.

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