Do Runners Still Need to Go to the Gym?

 

 

Is Exercise Really That Important!

WHY SHOULD A RUNNER GET STRONGER?

 

Some people think that running can only be improved by running. But, research shows that the strength training that runners engage in at the gym has a significant effect on their performance and endurance.

 

It’s hard as a runner to take a break from running, for some it is their social outing, for others it is like meditation. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of runners sustain injuries every year that hinder them from continuing training.

 

In most cases, these injuries result from muscle imbalances, ignoring niggles thereby letting them become bigger problems, and inappropriately loading.

 

Strength training plays a significant role in improving correct motor patterning and running economy which leads to fewer injuries.

 

Injuries Are Inevitable.

WHAT DO WE RECOMMEND TO DECREASE THE RISK!

 

When a runner is injured or uninjured, a physiotherapist will often prescribe a running specific strength training routine. Post injury the strength training is an important step in getting you back to running.

 

To stay injury free, a runner should make the strength session a vital component of their weekly training schedule. That’s because this routine becomes the running strength foundation.

 

Like we say at Paramount Physio

“GET STRONG, STAY STRONGER”

 

Really. The Gym!

YES THE GYM! BUT THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS.

 

Some runners don’t like the idea of spending time in a gym, but it is a worthy investment. We recommend that runners give up some time of running every week in favour of strength training in the gym.

 

That’s because starting a strength based routine can mark the beginning of stronger, faster and healthier running.

 

The strength session doesn’t necessarily need to be in the gym either; an effective home exercise program can be established.

 

 

Still Haven’t Convinced You!

WHAT ARE THE ACTUAL BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING?

 

Evidence has shown that incorporating weight lifting into the regular exercise routine of a runner increases VO2 max (the measure of aerobic endurance) and speed.

 

The brain alters the neural recruitment pattern thereby calling up the fibres of fatigue-resistant muscles so that the athlete can exert minimal energy.

 

Strength training also promotes hypertrophy in both the type I and type II muscle fibres (type I being most beneficial to running.)

 

Essentially, strength training plays the following major roles:

  • It assists in loading connective tissues and muscles thereby preventing injuries.
  • It helps an athlete run faster by enhancing neuromuscular power and coordination.
  • It improves running economy by boosting stride efficiency and coordination.

 

You Get It Now, Right!?

WHERE TO FROM HERE?

 

A runner should know when and how to progress. For instance, if you can’t manage 30 reps of a one-leg calf raise, you may not be ready for certain running distance.

 

If the muscles which provide support/power to your running are not functioning properly, compensatory patterns will be evident. In that case, strength training can be a more efficient way of increasing this capacity.

 

Generally, the bodyweight strength training that runners engage in at the gym exceeds strength. Nevertheless, strength training should focus on different parts of the body.

 

A runner should not only include lower body exercises to make their running more efficient; a balanced strength training program should include exercises for the upper body and core exercises as well. This ensures that a runner has a phenomenal mobility and overall strength while running.

 

 

Sooo…

IN A NUTSHELL!

 

  • Research indicates that strength training enhances the running economy and performance of runners

 

  • A strength program should be practice in conjunction with a runner’s normal running schedule

 

  • Strength training has numerous benefits that should prompt every runner to incorporate a few sessions per week into their routine

 

 

Tara Clifford

Physiotherapist & Clinical Pilates Instructor

 

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