Whether your goal is to increase running performance, get more explosive, prevent injuries or improve overall health, strength training should be an integral part of your training schedule. Although most people understand the importance of properly designed strength training program, not many know how to properly incorporate strength training to get all the benefits it provides, without hurting their running performance or even worse – getting injured.
To help you with this, we will answer some of the most common questions we get:
1. How often should I do strength training?
If you are a runner and your goal is to improve your running performance, you should be doing strength training twice a week. Once a week is better than nothing, however, research and practice has shown that optimal strength training frequency is 2-3 times a week. In this case, strength training should help running performance and not make you tired so that you need to slow down on your running.
2. How long should the workouts last?
Depending on your current training schedule and your goals, your strength training sessions should last anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes. This is a good starting point, however, each strength training program needs to be customized to each individual. Somebody who has an Olympic gold medal goal will have a completely different program compared to a working professional with a goal of running his first marathon while simultaneously balancing work, family and training obligations.
3. How to fit strength training into my running weekly schedule?
Strength training should not negatively impact performance of your key running workouts, so to avoid this, here are couple of things to keep in mind:
– Try to strength train the day after or the day of (following) the speed workout. For example, you can do speed work in the morning and perform strength training in the evening on the same day or you can perform strength training the following day after your speed work.
- Do not perform strength training the day before speed work or on the same day before the speed work;
– Attempt to strength train following your long run, however, most runners won’t have any problems if they strength train before the long run.
4. How should I strength train in the off-season?
After a long competitive season, the off-season is a chance for your body to properly heal itself (physically and mentally) and a great time to focus on weak links and correcting imbalances developed throughout the season. Not addressing these imbalances may lead to injuries down the road and impede your running performance. The workouts should be performed 2-3 times a week with a focus on major muscle groups, especially muscles of the posterior chain like glutes and hamstrings.
The goal of strength training is not to make you sore after each workout, but to make you a stronger, faster and more resilient athlete. If you are not sure where to start and need help with your training, contact us (hyperlink contact page) and we will provide you with a completely customized workout plan. During your first session, we will perform a comprehensive movement screen and health/fitness history. You will be guided through proper exercise progressions with planned variations in intensity and volume to ensure constant progress and avoiding plateaus.
NEM - NEMANJA SAMBAHER
Nem is the owner and head coach at TO Kinesiology. He is a certified Personal Trainer and Registered Kinesiologist with a Master of Science degree in Kinesiology. Nem is a published author with a strong science background with some of his papers appearing in journals like Neuroscience, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. He's also been featured for online publications like Stack.com, Running Room, Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, etc. You can read more about Nem here.
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