Many runners, especially those first starting out in the sport, don’t relate weight training to helping them improve or master their new sport. In reality, weight training is critical to runners who want to achieve success.
To get good at running, you have to have these four critical components:
- good posture
- body stabilization
- ability to produce strength quickly
Let’s look at each one of these components and see how they relate to weight training.
Good Posture for Runners
Good posture is critical to good running. When you run, your head should be looking straight ahead and your back straight. This keeps your upper body aligned over your lower body. If one gets misaligned with the other, your risk of injury substantially increases. Good posture requires a strong abdominal core. There are several weight lifting exercises that can develop your core.
Body Stabilization for Runners
When you run, the movements of your upper body counteract or cancel out the movements of your lower body; the body is supposed to work this way. But for this counteraction to work at peak efficiency, your abdominal core – the muscular structure that connects your upper and lower body – has to be strong. Weight training develops these muscles in the core.
If your core is not developed, you might be running with either your back arched backwards or pitched forward. When this happens, your hip muscles can’t do their job properly.
Importance of Strength in Runners
As odd as it may seem, when you run faster, your foot is actually in contact less time with the ground than it is when you run slower. So the faster you run, the harder it is on your body to put out that additional force over a longer period of time, which is why strength – especially the core and lower body – is so important. You need more strength to “pick ‘em up and put ‘um down” faster; in the end to run faster, you need more strength, which is where strength training comes in – developing that additional strength in the core and lower body.
Also strength training improves your body’s ability to use energy more efficiently.
Delivering Strength Quickly
We just talked about how additional strength helps sustain you over the long haul, but you also have to be able to produce that strength to run quickly. The muscle group that propels your foot off of the ground is the buttocks or “glutes”. To run faster, you need to have well developed glutes and what better way to increase your glutes than with weight training.
So while you may have thought that as a runner you just need to do cardio training to be able to run faster, as shown in this article, you also need to hit the gym and do specific strength training routines that will improve your abdominal core, muscles in your buttocks and train your body to use energy more efficiently.