Strength Training for Runners
For the spring we will be soon offering a Strength Training Series, to be held weekly at Sound Strength And Conditioning's gym in the Bryant neighborhood. These coached sessions will focus on developing a comprehensive base of strength for endurance athletes as they head into the long competition season.
As part of this strength focus we wanted to provide some of our thoughts around this often-contested side of training. Stay on the lookout for sign-up info on the strength series, and enjoy!
Strength is a tricky subject to bring up with runners, cyclists, and other athletes who rely significantly on maintaining an optimal body mass for their event. I think the perception is often that “strength training” involves lifting big weights in a crowded gym which pumps out Top-40 hit pop songs all day long. Mirrors everywhere; posturing abounds.
The truth is, strength is really everything to an athlete. As the pioneering rock climber Tony Yaniro once said, “Without strength, how can you endure?” You definitely need strength to accomplish those climbs that Varner loves to incorporate into his Rainshadow Running events, and for anyone who has ever completed a long run/race will tell you, even your arms and shoulders get tired. So yeah, upper body strength counts too.
There are a myriad ways to strength train, from as simple as running uphill to as complex as a periodized circuit workout in a gym. But the way I approach strength is in terms of capacity: how much strength do you have, and how much do you need for your event? For instance, if you’re running a 25km trail race and have to call upon 90% of your available muscle power to ascend a climb halfway through, and you’re running alongside someone who only has to use 80% to finish the same climb, who do you think will have more energy to burn later in the race?
In our view you want to have a buffer of both strength and endurance capacity – a portion available that you don’t have to tap into unless you’re really digging deep. Think of it like a spare gas tank, or the extra sandwich you packed along just in case. Having this larger capacity gives you more room to push, knowing that you won’t be hanging out on the ragged edge from start to finish.
In addition to our individually-coached strength training options we have a new class series! It's eight weeks so you can clearly see how you've progressed. More info here.