Should Distance Runners Strength Train?

I can’t believe I still hear this myth going around. Just the thought of runners who do not lift but choose to torment their bodies with mileage makes me weep. May we all take a moment of silence for the damaged muscles, joints, and ligaments that were and are affected by this tragedy.............

 

Unless you want to mourn with me, I urge you to make a change. Start lifting weights and train your body to withstand the mileage you choose to run. Strength training is very beneficial because it helps:

1) Increase workload.

2) Improve balance and coordination

3) Develop a stronger “Push Off”

4) Condition running efficiency and running economy

 

Strength training increases workload by increasing muscular strength and connective tissues in the body. This allows the body to be more durable and withstand excess pounding of the joints. Strength training also improves balance and coordination. I am always surprised how uncoordinated some experienced long distance runners are. They will go through a simple dynamic warm-up and their bodies will be falling all over the place. This just shows how inefficiently a person can move without proper balance and coordination. Strength training can also help an individual develop a stronger push off, allowing him/her to be more efficient while running. He/she can now use less energy to run while covering the same distance.  After improving running efficiency, he/she will also improve running economy, which is the amount of oxygen one needs at a certain aerobic intensity. These are the many reasons why strength training is so beneficial to long distance runners!