The Crucial Role of Resistance Training for Runners

Why Runners Should also Resistance Train

Runners are athletes.  As such, they should ideally train like athletes.   That means in addition to following your running plan, eating right, and getting adequate rest, you should think about implementing some resistance training into your routine.

Benefits of Weight Training

People often say: the sport of running is to run, right?!  So why would I want to lift weights?  I don’t run the course with weights.  I don’t want to be big and bulky; it will destroy my mile pace, not to mention cause me extra fatigue lugging around all that muscle mass?!  Runners are supposed to be lean, mean, striding machines!  Not bodybuilders! I have heard all these and more…, but it still does not change my mind. Here is why:

Resistance Training in Injury Prevention

Injury prevention: Nothing like resistance training strengthens connective tissue and bone mineral density.  The extra challenge of adding a load to an exercise stresses the body to adapt.  This means an increased rate of bone development and thicker, stronger connective tissue.  The body needs stress to adapt, which is exactly what resistance training offers. So running and the constant pounding on bones and joints can wear down the body.  Adding some resistance training will help combat those detrimental effects on joints and lower body ligaments. The Best trainer in Albion at Smart Strength adds an extra layer of assurance, offering the expertise needed to optimize your resistance training routine and keep your body resilient against the challenges of various physical activities.

Body Posture and Discrepancies

Runners are universally known for having poor posture and many muscle imbalances (think tight IT bands, psoas muscles, and shin splints, to name a few).  The reason is that they always do one activity in the same direction.  This causes our bodies to morph into a posture that best suits our activity (running) but doesn’t suit our desire to be balanced.

Diverse Movements in Runner’s Training

Consider, when is the last time you ran backward, laterally, jumped, or sprinted…? If you hear crickets, you are in this category.  Running is great, but if all you do is the same pace, in the same direction for miles at a time, your body will start to crystalize to that specific movement.  Your muscles and posture will adapt to only moving that way and tighten into being permanently in that position.

Addressing Muscle Imbalances

In addition, the muscles not being used will effectively “turn off” and become increasingly harder to fire when needed. And this shows itself over time.  Runners often have defined muscles used in running (calves, quads) but underdeveloped muscles not used in running (upper body, posterior chain).  This usually leads to injuries and overall aches and pains in those stressed areas, and poor posture and low definition in the areas not used.  

Break Routine Re-Introduce Muscle Confusion

Most runners are very dedicated and disciplined. To the point where it becomes a negative.  They have been doing the same running routine for years.  This is great because they have developed strong fitness habits, but it can also cause us to crystalize to a point where we are not seeing the benefits we should be seeing any longer.  Our bodies have an extreme desire to adapt to homeostasis.  If you are doing the same routine, day in and day out, even though you are exercising, the body has adapted to it.  This means less energy expenditure and less positive benefits from exercise.

Breaking the Crystalized Routine

Think about it… if you are running miles at a time, and you feel no soreness, and honestly, it is not that challenging anymore, you are crystallized.  Resistance training is the perfect way to bust up that routine, try different exercises and movements, and finally feel that soreness I know you have been missing.  Plus, it will be mentally rewarding to try something new and fun!

Athletic Progress with Smart Strength’s Strategic Training

Similarly, I want to inform you of the SAID principle.  So, this stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.  This is a bunch of scientific jargon, but it simply means the body will adapt to your demands.  That is why and how you can increase the mileage you run as you progress throughout your running program.

Approach to Progressive Resistance

That principle explains how you add weight to your resistance exercises as you progress through a weight training program. So, the body is constantly adapting to its environment. Resistance training and good programming will ensure your body adapts to get stronger daily, not crystalizing and becoming stagnant.  This is one of our guiding principles at Smart Strength… Another example of working Smarter, not harder.