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Benefits of Strength Training for Runners

Back when I ran collegiately, I didn't understand that you can't just've got to do a little strength training too! If I had done it on my own, I would have just ran miles and miles and maybe done a few crunches here and there. But I've since learned that strength training is a secret weapon that can put your running to a whole new level! Strength training can help runners in 3 important ways.

First, it can prevent injuries. This is SOOOOO important. As someone who is very injury prone, strength training is essential to keeping me healthy. Adding strength training to your routine strengthens muscles and connective tissues, which in turn, help you to put less repetitive stress on your tendons, joints, and bones. This will help to stave off injury.

Secondly, strength training benefits running by helping you to run FASTER. This happens due to improved neuromuscular coordination and increased power. It can increase your raw speed and VO2 max since your muscles are stronger, more powerful, and don't need to expend as much energy to hit a certain pace. Running fast essentially becomes easier.

Thirdly, strength training improves running economy and stride efficiency. This means you can run LONGER. Over time, your brain can actually alter its neural recruitment pattern, so that it uses the most fatigue-resistant muscle fibers – meaning you can last longer and exert less energy doing so.

How can you add strength training to your running routine?

One of the best ways is to use body weight! A couple days each week after running, finish your workout with bodyweight exercises like pushups, calf raises, lunges, squats, planks, tricep dips, etc. These don't require any equipment and can be done anywhere. Another great option is taking a group fitness class a few times a week that incorporates strength training – Orangetheory Fitness is a great option for giving you a little speedwork on the treadmill, as well as strength training on the weight room floor! You can also invest in a set of dumbbells or mini-bands and get a great workout from home. Just make sure that you focus on all body groups each week!

Alright, there you have it! If you want to reach your full potential as a runner and avoid injury, make sure to add some strength training. It doesn't have to be time consuming or complicated. You just have to do it!

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