Benefits of Strength Training for Runners

Add strength training for running improvements

Whether you're new to running or you've been running for years, you can benefit from strength training. Some runners are hesitant to strength-train because they think it will make them bulky and slower. But strength-training is extremely beneficial for runners. Whether you're looking to get faster or lose weight, you can benefit from doing some strength-training. Here are some of its many benefits:

You'll be a more efficient runner.

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If you've ever had a long run or race when your form fell apart as you get fatigued towards the end, you'll definitely benefit from strength-training. Strengthening your core can help improve and maintain your running form, which translates into greater running efficiency. This is especially important for those training for a long-distance event such as a half or full marathon, since small improvements in efficiency can make a huge difference over all those miles.

It may help you lose weight or maintain your weight.

Adding more lean muscle mass will increase your metabolism, which means you'll burn more calories both at rest AND during workouts. Many runners find that adding strength-training to their training regimen boosts their weight-loss effort and helps them get over a weight-loss plateau.  

More: Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

You'll increase your endurance and reduce fatigue.

Strength training helps your body better deal with the stresses of running. Your muscles will be able to perform longer before getting fatigued, which will help you maintain your proper running form. Improving your strength will help you fight off hitting the wall or cramping up during the late stages of a long-distance race.

You'll run faster.

Improving your form and endurance also translates into a faster overall pace, so strength training is an excellent strategy for improving your speed. Runners usually see improvements in their race times fairly soon after they add strength training to their regimens. And you don't need to spend hours doing strengthening exercises. Even just two or three 15- to 20-minute strength-training sessions a week can build more lean muscle mass.
More: How to Run Faster

You'll reduce your risk of injuries.

Lower body and core exercises are particularly important when it comes to reducing injury risk. Stronger core and leg muscles means that you'll maintain your proper running form longer, so you'll reduce your risk of lower back pain or other issues that are associated with bad running form.

Many running injuries, especially knee and hip-related issues, are a result of muscle imbalances or weaknesses. If you're feeling pain or are worried about a biomechanical flaw or previous injury, a sports doctor or physical therapist can recommend specific exercises for you to target certain areas.

Beyond the benefit of avoiding pain, not getting injured also means that you'll stay motivated to keep running and be more likely to build a consistent running habit and keep progressing as a runner.

More: How to Prevent Running Injuries

Running will feel easier.

New runners frequently ask, "When will running start to feel easier?" The answer is different for everyone, but adding strength training to your routine can definitely speed up the process. Strengthening your leg muscles will help increase your endurance, meaning you can run longer without feeling fatigued. Beginners may want to alternate their days of running and strength training so they're not doing them on the same day.
More: When Does Running Get Easier?

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