The Benefits of Strength Training for Runners


Strength training is something that many recreational runners, and even a lot of semi-serious runners, tend to omit from their training regimens.

The prevailing feeling of many runners is that to get faster, one simply needs to run farther and run faster.

And the prevailing feeling is wrong.

The Many Benefits of Strength Training

In most sports, the notion that lifting weights and getting stronger will improve performance is widely accepted. Football players spend hours in the weight room, as do hockey players, basketball players, and even baseball players.

So why do runners think we wouldn’t see a benefit from regular resistance training?

Here are just a few of the many benefits of strength training that runners can see if they commit to regularly doing resistance training.

  • Stay Healthy–Believe it or not, endurance runners have one of the highest rates of injury of any athletes. This may sound crazy at first, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Running requires that you repeat the same motion over and over and over again, sometimes for hours without a chance to recover. Any motion that is that repetitive in nature can cause muscle imbalances and overuse injuries. But regularly performing strength training exercises, runners are able to limit muscle imbalances and strengthen the muscles that are used in running, which helps to prevent them from breaking down over time.
  • Finish Stronger–Nothing is more frustrating for a runner than fading fast down the stretch (believe me!). Regular strength training helps to improve muscle endurance, so hopefully the fading will be minimized. For those of us crazies that run marathons or longer, this is especially important. Those last few miles are where you need that additional strength to make it through the finish line the most.
  • Improved Running Form–This is an addendum to the previous points, but as you fatigue your form breaks down. By working on your strength and improving muscular endurance, you’ll be able to maintain good form for a longer period of time which will help you finish stronger and stay healthy. To be clear, strength training won’t improve poor running form but it will help keep your form from breaking down over the course of a longer race.
  • Increased Metabolism–Strength training, without getting too technical, is a great metabolism booster because the effects of the exercise are felt for up to 36 hours after the workout is completed. Whereas running burns a lot of calories during activity, unless you’re really killing yourself in your workouts, running won’t keep burning a lot of calories once you finish your run. Strength training works exactly the opposite–not many calories burned during exercise but a continued burn for hours after exercise is complete. (If you want more info on the reasons this happens, shoot me a message and I’ll go into specifics.)

For most of us, we run to improve our overall health and push ourselves to new limits in terms of speed or distance.

Both of these goals are best achieved by including regular strength training to your routine.

If you’re not sure what kind of exercises are best for runners, stick around. I’ll be giving out some great ideas in the next post.

Do You Regularly Do Any Strength Training? What Does Your Routine Look Like?


PS–I’m working on a suggested exercise guide that I’ll be giving away to my tribe members, so if you want that just enter your best email address and I’ll get it sent out to you soon. (If you’re already in the tribe, stay patient. The guide is coming!)

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?


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.

Diz Runs With Preview Episode

This is the introduction/preview episode of the “Diz Runs With…” podcast.

In this short episode, I’ll be talking about my inspiration for creating the show, my planned schedule for releasing new episodes, and finding out the best way to stay up to date with everything about the show.

I’d love to know what you think about the concept in place for the show, and let me know who you think I should have on the show. I have a list of 100 potential guests already, but I’m always looking to add more.

And don’t forget to check out my show when it officially launches on 7/1/2014!

Exciting Changes Taking Place!


“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

~Winston Churchill

It’s an exciting time for me right now, on multiple fronts.

My wife is fixing to have a baby in the next few weeks, so I’ll officially be able to add “Dad” to my resume. To say we are excited would be an understatement.

But the addition to our family isn’t the only change exciting thing coming down the pike.

Another New Addition

I’m super excited about adding another podcast to my plate.

I launched my first podcast, Better Health 101, back in February and I’m absolutely loving the experience. And since that launched, I’ve been kicking around the idea of bringing a running-focused podcast to life as well.

The time is drawing nigh. In just under 3 weeks, “Diz Runs With” will be live, and I think you’re really going to love it.

2nd Draft--Likely to Change

2nd Draft–Likely to Change

The format for the show will be pretty simple, I’m going to talk with people that are in the running community about running, life, future plans, and everything in between. I’ve reached out to pros, celebs, race directors, and other really interesting people within the running community, so I’m excited about the diversity in guests that the show will have.

In addition to the podcast launch, I’ve also created a Facebook Group and am sending out weekly emails to “the people in my tribe” to keep everyone abreast of what’s going on. If you’re reading this, consider yourself invited to join my tribe in both places.

I won’t be sending out spammy emails, but my plan is to announce future guests of the show through the email list only. And if there are any guests that you have a question for, I want to feature a listener question as often as possible in each show. By getting the emails, you’ll know who’s coming and who you want to ask a question of. More details on this still need to be worked out, but you’ll want to be on the email list to stay up to date with the latest.

As for the Facebook Group, I’m just trying to create a community of people that listen to my show to be able to interact with each other and support each other no mater how young, old, fast, slow, or otherwise they might be. And I might be offering some giveaways through the group too. (hint, hint) So join the group, and who know what you might get.

This is Only the Beginning

I’ve got a few other tricks up my sleeve for this website going forward into the future, but I’m not quite ready to announce those yet. Stay tuned for more announcements in the future, but I’ll leak the most exciting info on the email list first, so just go ahead and sign up already!

I’m also working on spicing up the website a little bit, so feel free to go look around a little bit if you haven’t been there recently. And keep checking back, because it seems like I make some little tweak almost daily, and I’d love to hear your feedback throughout the process.

“There is nothing permanent except change.”


The Latest in Wearable Tech–Guest Post by Sara Upton

The following guest post is written by Sara Upton, and focuses on some new options in terms of technology devices for runners and other fitness enthusiasts. If you’re at all like me, you’ve got your Garmin (or whatever you use) from 5+ years ago, and you haven’t thought about upgrading/buying something new in years. It may be time to reconsider, because these options sound really interesting. Enjoy!

Are you always asking yourself: Is there something that I can do to better prepare myself for my next marathon? For that matter, is there anything I can do to help myself be a better, healthier runner in general?

With health technology and the dual-purpose nature of mobile technology on the rise, the simple answer is: of course there is!

The success of the wearables market is booming.

Many people already sport a wearable technology device that supports fitness and/or sleep tracking, much to the benefit of their personal training and overall health efforts. While wearable tech devices aren’t necessarily everyday occurrences just yet, Verizon Wireless notes the following: “Technology market intelligence company ABI Research says wearable computing devices will be the norm within five years.”

With the recent drop of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the upcoming delivery on the health interests of Apple, the takeaway is that industry giants are interested in health. They are planning to provide viable solutions for individuals with health issues and a heavy want for a more healthy lifestyle than they currently maintain.

On the point of current maintenance, your workout doesn’t necessarily need to go digital, that’s not the point.

What’s important is your ability to now use your smartphone in concurrence with wearable devices to check up on your progress and, in some cases, to gain readily relevant diet information.

Check out these popular wearable devices to see which may work best for you in your struggle to go above and beyond in your training or workout routines.

Jawbone Up24


The Jawbone Up24 is, in design of the actual wearable hardware, a very bare-bones fitness device at first glance.

The device itself pairs with a neat app just for the hardware, and it communicates with iOS- or Android-powered devices via Bluetooth.

The device tracks all of the vitals, of course, including steps taken, calories burned, etc., but what makes this device and its accompanying app most useful are its abilities to track sleep in addition to activity.

There are two impressive new features available to the Up24. First, the “Today I Will” feature puts you in control of your own goals. The other notable feature is Milestones. Milestones take the form of the longer-term goal, helping you reach goals like walking a million steps or burning a certain amount of calories two weeks in a row.

At the same time, the Recent Activity and Lifeline views will organize all of your expected and actual data into graphs for you to clearly monitor your progress.

Withings Pulse O2


The Withings Pulse O2 is a nifty device whose dual screen offers very useful statistics for individuals who suffer from health issues like asthma but still like to exercise.

The device has an onboard heart rate monitor and a blood-oxygen level indicator that may be really beneficial when used correctly. This is an especially useful feature for climbers.

Overall, this is still one of the best pedometers on the market if you’re nit-picky about how accurate your readings are. In addition, the ease of syncing with your phone and the data-rich accompanying app have all the necessities in one space.

The LED screen on the Pulse O2 shows all of the following: steps taken, distance traveled, elevation climbed, estimated calories burned, and the time.

It also has the ability to track your sleep and read your heart rate.

Misfit Shine


If you’re into the screen-less and minimalistic side of life, the Misfit Shine may be just what you’re looking for. The self-proclaimed “world’s most elegant physical activity tracker,” the Misfit Shine delivers in that department.

With no screen and the ability to wear the device almost anywhere (meaning on your person and physically anywhere, even underwater), the Misfit Shine has all the makings of a silent tracker that will help to enhance your training and workout routines.

The Misfit Shine is a more barebones tracker than others mentioned here, but even the small amounts of data it does provide are more than enough to ensure that you’re on track with your training or workout schedule for the week. It even counts swimming as an activity and is the only one of these three that allow underwater use.

Tracking walking, cycling, swimming, sleeping, and running, the minimal aesthetic inherent to the device’s design also extends to the data.

All data tracked by the Misfit Shine is pitted against a daily goal that you set for yourself, which you can change at any time.

The device tracks both how quickly and intensely you move based on your personal information to give a reading on the amount of steps you’ve taken, the distance you’ve covered, and the amount of calories you’ve burned. It’s a great way to reach any goal you may have for yourself while keeping the device tucked neatly out of sight if you prefer.

Truly a device for all sensibilities!

If these just aren’t what you’re looking for, you can always check out what CNET has to say about some other options.

Seriously, wearable technology is everywhere, and if you look you’re sure to find something that fits the bill for your workout or training routine!


***Legal mumbo-jumbo/disclaimer: Some, but not all, of the links for the products that are mentioned in this post are affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission if you click the link to make a purchase.***