Running. It's an activity that is available to pretty much anyone, requiring little more than a pair of trainers and some motivation. There's a variety of technical clothing, footwear and gadgets you can invest in to help you run faster or for longer, but one of the simplest ways to improve your running performance is with strength training.
The key to getting better at an activity is specificity, i.e by doing that particular activity, you improve your ability to do it. So running will help you run. But there are many benefits to lifting weights that will help you become a better runner.
1. Improved form
When fatigue sets in, your running form starts to suffer, so building strong muscles in your legs, core and upper body will help keep you upright and moving efficiently. Which leads into...
2. Injury prevention
Building strong muscles can decrease the likelihood of you developing an injury while running and improve your recovery times as well. Working the key running muscles like the glutes, quads, hamstrings and hip flexors, and also the back, chest and shoulders will help ensure you stay injury free.
3. Run faster for longer
Building strength will not only help you avoid injuries, but can improve your speed and endurance too. Stronger muscles mean you can push yourself harder and further.
Where to start If you're new to strength training, basic bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges and push-ups are a good place to start. Once you've perfected your form on these, you can add in more advanced exercises, such as kettlebell swings, deadlifts and pistol squats, to really ramp up the intensity.
If you're currently not doing any strength work, just adding in one 30-60 minute session a week will see an improvement in performance and recovery. If you'd like some guidance, get in touch.