Featured Image: @3sjoerslopet on Instagram. Movement like the snatch and clean can help athletes increase coordination of muscle contraction, proprioception, and movement. Great article as always and cheers for the free download! I’ve actually found the compound moves do help as well – even if they are quite heavy-going. Enhancing muscle coordination can improve firing patterns and potentially allow runners to react to external forces and eccentric loading of running in a more efficient manner; ultimately improving running efficiency and performance (3). Three Single Leg Squat Variations for Runners. Rather than standard squats and deadlifts with our legs working together in relative parallel, I always encourage runners to work on split squats and lunge variations where we work the hips in particular in different directions with each rep. Take a split squat for example (or static lunge as some call it) – one of my favourite exercises when it comes to strength training for runners specifically – not only are we loading quads, glutes, hamstrings and adductors, we’re also developing stride length as we work the legs in opposite directions. are an exercise that allows an athlete to produce high amounts of power without having to turn the barbell over into the clean receiving position. You’re time and effort is precious, let’s get the most out of each exercise! The research on traditional weight lifting comes from a 1997 study by Johnston et al.2 Six female distance runners underwent a 10-week strength program with weight sessions three times a week. Studies (here and here for example) have provided sound evidence for the performance benefits for strength training for distance runners. Sports Medicine, 33(7), 539-552. doi:10.2165/00007256-200333070-00005, Follow on , Female Referee National Testing Assistance Fund, Sports Medicine Society Athlete Safety Policy (.pdf), Local Weightlifting Committee Information, U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Brand Usage Guidelines, A post shared by 3-Sjøersløpet (@3sjoerslopet), Hedrick, A., & Wada, H. (2008). James Marshall looks at the evidence. Benefits of Weightlifting Training for Distance Runners, It’s not secret that resistance training is beneficial for runners. I just quickly want to address one of the major objections I hear regularly when it comes to getting people into regular strength training workouts for runners. Take a single leg squat for example; as I describe in the video below, there are subtle tweaks that can make the exercise more quad biased, and other tweaks that make it more glute biased. Single-Leg Balance: This exercise improves hamstring & glute strength, core control and improves the range of motion in your hips. If so, what follows will hopefully provide a helpful resource to help you combine your running schedule with an effective strength training plan…. • Start with a high‐knee • Bring the leg back into a ‘butt‐kick’ • Hold for 2 seconds • Walk into the same thing with the opposite leg. and cleans can be used to increase unilateral performance, offer training variability, or allow athletes who may have restrictions (mobility) to partake in power training. The vast majority of running injuries will get worse over time if you try to run through the pain, rather than better. Below are strength training programs designed for distance runners that focus on core, leg and upper body strength. If an exercise hurts, stop. This can also be done to demand athletes to create more power since the cannot simply squat lower clean the load. You may well be reading this nodding your head? Below is a sample 2-day in-season program that includes power and strength movements, along with accessory exercises. I too get them. That said, strength training for runners is different than it is for your standard gym rat. In the past I’ve tried to balance my marathon training (I run 6 days a week) with 2 swim sessions a week as a way of stretching out and developing more core strength. If you’re suffering with a pain or niggle as you run, get yourself to a physio and get it looked it properly assessed. Below are three (3) reasons why performing cleans and snatch with distance may lead to increased performance of general athleticism. Strength and conditioning programs are key in distance running programs to increase leg strength, correct muscular imbalances and asymmetries, and improve overall performance. When it comes to strength training for distance runners, getting the exercises done is one a big part of the battle, but take the time to learn and execute great technique throughout each exercise. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t do the same! Marathon training, however isn’t the time for this kind of highly demanding work. This is the kind of work you could dedicate some months to at another time of the year while there are fewer imminent running goals in sight. Best wishes. is a posterior chain dominant movement that has a lifter perform a clean (either full squat or power) with the barbell from a hanging position. It’s not the marathon itself that breaks most runners, it’s the necessary mile after mile in training before you even make the start line. His transition into distance running has taught him what his body is capable of, a process which is ongoing! However, what I really want to convey is that you should make sure that you give your body an opportunity to recover as effectively as possible when a rest day is scheduled. Runners Full Body Workout. Dissect the vast number of movements involved in running gait, and you’ll soon realise that while the output is linear, the constituent movements of all the different joints of the body happen in all three planes of motion. Thanks James, this a fantastic article! The training year for our middle distance runners is divided into six mesocycles: off-season, preseason, transition, in-season, transition, and postseason. In other cases, I get the runner to do their strength and core workout on these non-running days… it really depends on the individual. Mainstream strength training workouts for runners are antiquated, with new approaches relying on both basic movements and sports specific exercises that emphasize strength, balance, and power, with short workouts 1-2x per week. However, with my injury rehab background, I’m acutely aware of the one biggest factor that limits so many runners – injury. Given how different various marathon training schedules are, the advice for where best to place your strength and core sessions will be different from person to person. Did you sort the problem and if so how ? However, if you can just dedicate 2-4 blocks of twenty-five minutes per week to completing a handful of targeted core exercises for runners, in your lounge, office, bedroom, home gym after a run session your body will feel the benefits. It’s true that we all have different metabolisms, and that body weight is more of an ongoing battle for some that for others. Just a short question, how long rest would you recommend in between the sets/exercises? The best rule of thumb when it comes to strength training for distance runners, and running injuries, in general, is not to push through the pain. If you’re one of the many who have bought into the hype surrounding all the research that supposedly tells us that runners shouldn’t stretch, I’d suggest giving the article a read… with an open mind! I’m glad you found the article helpful. “Just think about strength training one to two times a week, focusing on compound movement patterns, such as a lunge or squat, and shoring up … Great info as always! core exercises for runners into a marathon training schedule, Strength Workouts for Distance Runners >>, Multiplanar Strength Exercises for Runners, marathon training plan for beginners [PDF], Bodyweight Workout for Runners - 15 Minute Blast, Six Tips To Improve Running Technique During Marathon Training | Run Coaching, Ironman and Triathlon Specialists - Kinetic Revolution. Clean pulls are an exercise that allows an athlete to produce high amounts of power without having to turn the barbell over into the clean receiving position. When it comes to more intensive strength training blocks, there’s definitely benefit in getting runners to work on pure strength. Obviously, our legs carry us as we run, so we need strong quads, calf muscles, hamstrings, glutes, adductors, etc. Traditional weight training, medicine ball throws, sprint drills, bodyweight training and circuit training with various exercises are the most common forms of strength training. Whatever the exercise, it’s important to understand what you’re trying to achieve – what that should feel like – and which cues to focus on to do so. For the sake of simplicity, let’s also assume that the power and strength exercises are progressed in linear fashion, with the loading being increased 5lbs per week, or 1-2% of max. Note, that the power and strength blocks per training session are in bold. During your marathon specific training block, we should be looking to develop and maintain muscle balance and stability, and work to maintain mobility around key joints like the hips, as the miles take their toll on the body. If you’re currently training for a marathon and looking for a schedule of strength training workouts for runners to fit well alongside your training. The ability to tap into more muscle fibers, regardless of composition, could give the runner a competitive edge at higher intensities or under high amounts of fatigue. As you figure out which weights challenge you, you can up the weight and … Hi John. However a relatively recent meta-analysis from Danish researchers Lauersen et.al. By that I mean not high-intensity days, and not high volume days. Thanks for the support Esme! "[1] Please don’t view strength training for runners and stretching as being mutually exclusive. I do like to be as evidence-based / evidence-informed as possible, but that doesn’t mean that experience is worthless. Randy is a USA Weightlifting National Coach, former record holder, and strength coach to many elite runners in Boulder Colorado. Dec. 28, 2018, 5:15 p.m. (ET). Each move targets a different muscle group — and a different aspect of your running form. This can be done to also simplify the movement to allow an athlete to attack heavier loads with confidence and power. Locomotion, such as running, is dependent on these interactions, therefore making the hang clean viable option to enhancing these performance properties. Thank you James this is the advice I’ve been looking for. When it comes to strength training for distance runners, getting the exercises done is one a big part of the battle, but take the time to learn and execute great technique throughout each exercise. I recommend doing this program 2-3 times per week. I’m certainly not trying to convince you that you need to develop bulging biceps and boulder-like shoulders. Strength training for distance runners can be addressed in many forms. Recently I’ve received a number of emails asking how best to build a specific strength training plan for runners. The power clean is a clean variation that can be done to incorporate more pulling strength into the program, as this clean is done from the floor (rather than the hang). Tired of getting hurt? That said, years of experience has shown me that getting a runner onto an appropriate strength training programme has a powerfully positive effect on their ability to remain injury free. Within this phase, the athlete should focus on addressing muscle asymmetries, increasing lean body mass, and developing maximal strength and power. lift weights, the best type of strength training for distance runners is ironi-cally similar to what is performed by football players. Your training frequency should be keyed to the number of runs you perform in a week and their intensity. I’ve also had detailed a (modest :)) 5-exercise core strength training for runners on my blog: push-ups, planks, crunches, russian twists, and jacknife sit-ups. He has several pieces of advice for runners about to start a strength training program. Below is a detailed look at a year-long macro cycle and how we have designed the strength-training program for each phase. Having asked literally hundreds of runners what they’re most concerned about when looking at their marathon training plan, the vast majority answer something along the lines of: “I just want to get through this marathon training block injury free…”. Required fields are marked *. But studies show if you lined up 100 endurance runners according to their 10K times, and they rearranged themselves based on their 50m sprint times, the two lines would look strikingly similar. All it requires is roughly 20 minutes of your time 2-3 times a week whenever you can squeeze it in. This study demonstrated that this structure of strength programming can significantly improve economy and VV[Combining Dot Above]O2max over a 20-week preseason period. Each exercise was performed either on … I hope you find it helpful . Like the power clean, the power snatch can improve the power output capacities of an athlete, yet also increase upper body involvement as the end with the load overhead. If you’re one of the runners who messaged me – thank you! High‐Knee Side Holds. You need to be eat big to get big! It’s a frustrating reality that injury rates are incredibly high amongst runners; some sources suggest that over 75% of runners get injured each year. Note, that most distance runners will receive a benefit from moving moderate loads at high speeds, therefore the overall goal should not be to lift the most amount of weight but rather the move weight as fast as possible. Leaving non-running days clear for some light active recovery, and rest. These benefits help you maintain your stride at any level of fatigue, even on a long-distance run. The workouts can be done after running workouts or on days between workouts. Believe me, I get it… Above all else, us runners just want to run! Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(8), 2192-2201. doi:10.1519/jsc.0b013e31823b087a. Instead of pushing weight away from the body with bicep curls, leg extensions, and bench presses, runners should focus on targeting the key muscles that will keep them balanced. can be done to increase unilateral strength, power, muscle development, and challenge balance needed in single-legged sports. But light and strong is faster! ©2020 United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. Here is the full guide on starting strength training for runners. Sample Off-Season Distance Running Strength Program (3-Day), Hang Power Clean 5 sets (3 reps) / 60-65%, Kneeling Dumbbell Overhead Press 3(10-12), Sample In-Season Distance Running Strength Program (2-Day), Hang Power Clean 3 sets (3 reps) / 60-65%, Jung, A. P. (2003). Below are a few bilateral and unilateral posterior chain exercises to increase the strength, muscle, AND explosiveness necessary for powerful movements. More time on our feet means more strain for us to deal with. I am very quad dominant so glutes are redundant. If necessary to do this on days before workouts, try to have as much time to recover as possible for you run. He focuses on dynamic balance with emphasis on form and quick movements emphasizing power. The Impact of Resistance Training on Distance Running Performance. is a clean variation that can be done to incorporate more pulling strength into the program, as this clean is done from the floor (rather than the hang). Strength Training for Long Distance Runners We think of distance running as being primarily an aerobic affair - and indeed, it is. On this same topic, it’s worth me talking about the type of strength training for distance runners you should be doing during this period. Enhance the intensity of your workout with HyperWear gear and save space with their SandBell weight sets. For me personally I know I can never undertake a marathon training plan without having strength work in there. There’s a definite risk of ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’ when advising runners not to stretch. Instead of lifting light to moderate weights for high reps, as is the common wisdom amongst runners, aim to build up to heavy lifts of 4-6 reps, and perform 5 sets with lots of recovery. I’m of the opinion that there are a huge number of runners who would benefit from developing the fundamental strength that a 8-12 week programme of heavy squats and deadlifts (and other compound exercises) will provide. Strength Training is an important consideration for any high school cross country and/or track coach of distance runners. Thanks Cat! If you’re in the middle of a marathon training block, and your weekly mileage is building nicely, the last thing your legs are going to want is an extra session or two of heavy squats and deadlifts to recover from. Exercises such as pull-ups and reverse flyes are so simple, but often ignored in place of working from the hips downwards. Here’s my secret: Strategic strength moves BEFORE you set out for your run — as a warm up. When your torso is rotated one way, your pelvis rotates the other… This asymmetrical and reciprocal repeats cyclically all over the body as we move from stride to stride. A fair while ago I published an article with the title “Stretching Doesn’t Work…?“. Your email address will not be published. As with everything, technique is super-important when it come to lifting weights, so be sure to have somebody check your form. Keep your diet in check, and your ‘strength training for distance runners’ plan will keep you strong and lean; a combination that equates to resilient and fast. Olympic Weightlifting Training Causes Different Knee Muscle–Coactivation Adaptations Compared with Traditional Weight Training. Formerly a professional rugby player, James’ route into endurance sports coaching hasn’t exactly been conventional. The hang clean is a posterior chain dominant movement that has a lifter perform a clean (either full squat or power) with the barbell from a hanging position. Training volumes are higher, with intensities increasing as the weeks progress. Researchers correlated an 8% increase in running efficiency with runners who trained regularly with weights, many of which performed strength and power exercises (, Running, and most human locomotive endeavors, is highly dependent on posterior chain muscles (hamstring, glutes, and erectors). But don’t forget your upper body! Q&A About the Strength Training for Runners Program. One question please. Despite the advancements in our understanding of the role strength training plays in our development as long distance runners, there are still some pervasive myths in the running community about the best way to approach improving running-specific strength. Repeated pounding can lead to stress syndromes, runner’s knee, shin splints, and various foot problems. 5 Strength TRAINING exercises for runners. Weightlifting, in the form of snatches and clean and jerks offer distance runners a unique opportunity to tap into more muscle tissue and increase muscular power. But take it from me – an ex-rugby player who spent the best part of 10 years desperately trying to bulk-up: resistance training alone won’t suddenly make you gain significant muscle mass. Below is a sample 3-day off-season program that includes power and strength movements, along with accessory exercises. But still—especially leading up to a race, ... (like long-distance runners). September 12, 2018 Mario Fraioli is a basis for building leg strength and posterior chain development. But in my experience, it’s not the marginal performance gains that most runners are concerned about when it comes to marathon training…. Weight Training Mistake: Classes, DVDs, and WODs Oh My! Hi James, The snatch and clean are dynamic movements that require great amounts of strength, power and synchronization of muscular contractions. Here are a list of tips which will help you more effectively implement strength training and core training for runners into your marathon training plan: Let’s get this straight; I’m not expecting you to find the time to add a couple ninety-minute gym sessions to your existing weekly running schedule. Home » Blog » Strength & Stability for Runners » Strength Training for Distance Runners. Then I’ll do the more focused bits afterwards. I am a 52 year old male cyclist training for a marathon but suffer recurrent calf strains. With stronger muscles, connective tissues, joints, and more resilience to fatigue, you’ll get hurt less often. Take a single leg squat for example; as I describe in the video below, there are subtle tweaks that can make the exercise more quad biased, and other tweaks that make it more glute biased. This can be done to also simplify the movement to allow an athlete to attack heavier loads with confidence and power. This is fantastic and I’m sure will help a lot of people . Most of the common running injuries I see fall into the ‘overuse’ category, where some sort of movement dysfunction or soft tissue imbalance has been exacerbated by the highly repetitive and hight impact activity of running mile after mile. Butt‐Kick Hold. This is the “grab bag” approach to strength training: A second point is that strength training is most likely to be effective if it mimics the movements and actions of the athlete's sport. It’s not a black-and-white yes/no answer, as it really depends where the runner is in their training year. Strength Training for Runners When executed properly, a strength training program for distance runners can make you a stronger, more efficient runner while reducing your chance of injury. The same has to be said for the exercises intended to support your running too! But runners need a different strength-training program than your standard gym rat. Olympic lifts offer distance runners, who are primary made up of slow twitch muscle fiber, to tap into more athletic potentials by targeting muscle fibers (fast twitch) that may not be getting trained efficiently. Running is very much a linear movement, at least on the surface in comparison to the twisting and turning we see from athletes in sports such as football. Below are a few bilateral and unilateral squat styles coaches can use to develop leg strength and posterior chain musculature; both of which are necessary for running speed and efficiency. Improve general strength, core strength, balance/stability, mobility and range of motion - i.e. Just noticed your comment and question about constant calf strains. In a similar but slightly different way, when we run we’re only ever supported on one leg, or no legs – unlike walking gait when we have the luxury of double limb support at times. Full-body workouts that involves a blend of strength training, yoga, Pilates and physical therapy-inspired moves, carefully curated for runners’ needs. cheers Tom. : The conventional deadlift can increase strength, muscle hypertrophy, and endurance of the hamstring, glutes, and erectors; all of which are primary muscle groups used in human locomotion (running). Researchers correlated an 8% increase in running efficiency with runners who trained regularly with weights, many of which performed strength and power exercises (1). My body is very injury prone so strengthening it up is essential alongside running. 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