Benefits of Strength Training for Runners

Strength training is not usually part of the concerns of newbie runners.  It would seem like going to the gym to build muscles is the last thing they need for their running.  Some runners would not want to be bulkier as they feel that it could slow them down or make them tired only after a short distance.  But researchers and scientists alike find that there are benefits of strength training for runners.

Top Benefits of Strength Training for Runners

Faster Runs

When you go through strength training regularly, you will be able to run faster than your average speed.  Strength training is part and parcel of endurance training.  Endurance and strength training adjusts your body’s oxygen uptake.   Simply put, when you use less oxygen to reach a certain speed, you can run at a faster pace for long periods without having to gasp for breath.

“Not only will it help athletes and bodybuilders alike, this type of training will also vastly improve the average person’s fitness level, and can easily be tailored to suit any goal specific needs.” – Fitday

Lesser Body Fat

Strength training is not solely to help you bulk up. One of its benefits is that it will help you lose that unnecessary body fat.  This is secondary to the fact that most of the energy burned by the body is from the resting metabolic rate.  When you have more body fat, the resulting metabolic rate would be slower and therefore retain even more fat.  When you have leaner muscles, metabolism becomes faster, you lose fat, and you become a better runner.  You basically burn fat, decrease your fat stores, and make you feel lighter so you can complete your laps or sprint faster.

Good Body Composition

Runners don’t really like it when they bulk up because it makes them heavier and this would pose difficulties when running long distances.  With proper strength training, you don’t have to worry about increasing muscle mass.  Relative strength training protocol along with proper nutrition and supplementation would give you optimal endurance.  Leaner muscle mass coupled with strength would allow you to run faster.  When you eliminate body fat and replace it with lean muscles, you will feel stronger.

Researchers claim that strength training together with circuit training would allow for proper delivery of oxygen to your muscles and greater uptake of free fatty acids.  Therefore, this type of training is highly advisable for runners who want to have better running performance without increasing their muscle mass.

Avoid Injury

One of the primary concerns of elite runner is injury.  A simple sprain could hurt their ankles and affect their running performance.  With strength training, you can gain a better balance and reduce your risk of plantar fasciitis or sprains.

Your body is not perfect, there may be instances that you would lose your balance and fall off on your non-dominant side. If this happens often, include unilateral and bilateral extremity exercises to improve your balance.  You can also do step-ups and forward lunges to stabilize your lower body that would result to equal power on your legs.

It would also be best to incorporate single-side training to improve your sprint speed.

Increased Core Strength

Squats, lunges, dead lifts, and chin-ups are great for increasing your core strength.  This is very helpful when you want to get rid of nagging back pains.  When your body feels better, you can be sure to run faster.

There are several studies that reveal enhanced distribution of power from the upper extremities to the lower extremities when you do multiple joint movement trainings. This is very important when running because there is proper circulation of power.  You can run long distances and not worry about fatigue and chronic pain.

More Antioxidant Levels and Less Oxidative Stress

Traditional endurance trainings would make your body produce increased levels of oxidative stress.  Higher levels of oxidative stress would cause chronic inflammation.  When you add strength training to your program, both acute and chronic oxidative stress are offset.  This helps you prevent the long term damage that it may cause because they increase antioxidant levels that kills free radicals.

If you plan to go for strength training, develop your flexibility and basic strength level first.  Just like in running, your training pace should be gradual.  Do lifts, lunges, and squats with varying tempo so you maximize the benefits of strength training.