Strength training is extremely important and beneficial for runners for several reasons, I'll site just four.
1. It will make you a more efficient runner.
I don't know about you but I have found when I run a long run/race my form has a tendency to fall apart, due to fatigue. Strengthening your core will help to improve your form and performance for the long haul. Having a strong core helps keep you running straight and not hunched over, it prevents your back from tiring and getting sore, it also helps keep everything down the center where it needs to be, in a straight line.
2. It will make you burn more calories.
If your like me, you know that any idea that will help us runners burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, is a good one. The more muscle you build through strength training, the more calories you will burn. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat and thus burns more calories. Some say that 1 pound of fat burns about 3 calories a day and 1 pound of muscle burns about 6 calories a day. The difference may not sound like much but it adds up quickly as you build up muscle through strength training. One more reason; high intensity strength training can actually increase your after burn for hours after your work out. This is definitely a good thing.
3. You'll run faster.
When we improve our strength and endurance, we improve our pace. It only take a few times a week,15-20 minutes each time, to build more muscle. This will transfer directly to our pace. I think this is easily do-able and only takes a few minutes each time. I have started to add in strength training because I have weak hip muscles and get cramps in that area, and notice that is where I fatigue first. So I researched and found several sites that give leg movements and strength training exercises that will help improve this area for me. Just Google strength training for runners or strengthening exercises for hip adductor and abductor muscles. Livestrong has a great article of some exercise you can do for stronger hip muscles.
4. Running will feel and therefore be easier.
When I was a new runner I would ask myself and others, "When will this get easier"? Guess what? It has gotten easier and only keeps improving. As I build up more muscle strength in my legs and core I am becoming a better, more efficient runner. As I strengthen my leg muscles, I am able to run farther and faster than I could in the beginning, without feeling as fatigued. I like that idea. Hip Fatigue, more often than not, has caused me to have to stop and walk. I know that the day will come where that no longer happens, but only if I continue to build and strengthen those muscles.
So you see, strength training is really an essential component of running. I know that I would like to be a faster more efficient runner, who burns more calories in each day. How about you?
"Limitations only exist if you let them"
© 2012 Shannon M. King. This publication is the exclusive property of Shannon M. King and is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The contents of this post/story may not be reproduced as a whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without consent of the author, Shannon M. King. All rights reserved.
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