One of my goals for 2017 was to incorporate regular strength training into my routine. I decided to aim for two sessions per week that focused on strengthening the entire body with a special emphasis on exercises beneficial to runners. Halfway through the year I evaluated the impact strength training was having on my running, and without a doubt, I could see a difference. My 3:16 finish at the Boston Marathon, although not a personal best, was my strongest marathon yet in terms of how I felt during race, and in my injury free buildup to race day. As I began my next training cycle, I continued strength training twice per week for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. I was again able to have an injury free buildup leading into the Indy Monumental Marathon, which did result in a slight PR. And again I was able to feel stronger than ever during the race and I know even better race times are ahead. I have started handing faster paces in my workouts that previously weren't possible. In addition to being physically stronger, mentally I feel bulletproof in a way I haven't before.
So how do I incorporate all of this strength training into my week without having constantly tired legs? I schedule my strength sessions on the same days as my hard runs. Although it does make for a tough day, it keeps my easy run days truly an easy day that allows for my body to recover from the previous day's hard work.
It's not uncommon for runners to tell me two things when it comes to strength training, the first being they don't enjoy it, they only like to run. Second, they don't have time. If you want to run injury free for as long as possible, you have to strength train. As far as not having time, do you have 15 minutes twice per week to devote to strength training? Don't say no! Cut your run a bit short, or spend a little less time on your phone. ;) Just two fifteen minute sessions per week can really make a difference.
And if you need a little more than my own observations to be convinced, here are some facts for you. If you are a Masters runner like myself (over 40 years of age), listen up: as we age, we lose muscle mass. Bone density can start to decrease as well. Strength training can preserve and increase both of these important elements! And specifically for your running, regular strength training can help delay fatigue on those long runs, help you hold proper running form longer, recover faster from hard workouts, and increase your resistance to injury.
Knowing where to start, especially if you are new to strength training can be overwhelming. But don't let that sway your resolve to begin building a stronger, faster, injury free body. Visit Runstrongproject.com and let us guide you!