Marathon Training – Beyond the Miles: STRENGTH TRAINING

If you haven’t seen them yet please watch these videos of Mary Cain’s and Galen Rupp’s record setting races this past weekend at BU! Not going to lie… I teared up a little watching both of their races.

I’ve always known that strength work is important for runners but last night the hubby and I were talking about Rupp’s race and he told me that he read that Galen has been focusing on strength training in his preparations for his record breaking attempts. If Alberto Salazar is making his athletes in the Oregon Project work on strength training you know it is essential! [Video of Salazar and Rupp on Strength Training – the audio is grainy but it’s worth the watch]

So why do distance runners, especially those training for a marathon need to incorporate strength training into their routines? If I just run a lot of miles I should be okay right? WRONG! Strength training is an integral part of marathon training. If you take the time to add strength work to what you are currently doing, your training and races will benefit greatly.

Why strength training is important for runners

  • Prevents injury
  • Promotes proper form and running mechanics
  • Conditions your bones, ligaments and tendons and makes them stronger
  • Strengthens weak muscles
  • Corrects muscle imbalances
  • Can increase flexibility
  • Makes you faster!

Quick Facts About Strength Training 

How often should I strength train? 15-20 minutes per day, 2-4 days per week is all that you need to reap the benefits of strength training.

Before or after I run? Save strength workouts for after your runs. And avoid hard strength work on days that you did intervals, a tempo run or a long run!

Do I need to join a gym to do strength work? Not at all! One of the easiest thing about adding strength workouts to your training is that there are an infinite number of body weight exercises that you can do! Check out this site for a list of FIFTY body weight exercises!

What are some other exercises that I can do to strength train? Both swimming and cycling provide strengthening workouts that work muscles other than those that you use to run. Working out these muscles helps to prevent injury!

I’m not comfortable in the weight room, what should I do? If you belong to a local gym check out their group fitness schedule to see if they have any classes focused on strength training. If you don’t have a gym pass check out an app, such as Nike Training Club or Daily Burn, that will guide you in your strength training!

Since I run so much should I do strength exercises for my legs? Most definitely! It is exactly because you run so much that you should do leg exercises. Put special emphasis on exercises that strengthen your body overall and promote good running form and flexibility!

In college my coach was really good about having us get in 10-15 minutes of strength work in on easy days. Here’s a quick routine that we used to do after a maintenance run. (p.s. feel free to do “girly push-ups”, I usually do 🙂 )

quick strength routine

If you are interested in learning more about strength training and running check out these interesting articles! 

10 Essential Strength Exercises for Runners

Avoid These Common Weight Lifting Mistakes

Running Strength Training: Why Runners Need It

To Make It to the Next Level, Strength Training is a Must (written by one of my good friends from college!)

How often do you strength train?

Do you do your strength training at home or at the gym?

Currently at home but I’m looking to join a gym in the near future!

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5 thoughts on “Marathon Training – Beyond the Miles: STRENGTH TRAINING

  1. Oh man, did you see the post-record interval workout? How freaking crazy. Salazar’s runners are beasts. I usually strength train at the gym but for 8 weeks I’m doing insanity so at home right now 🙂

  2. Pingback: Marathon Training – Beyond the Miles: CARBO LOADING | Will Run for Boston

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