In today’s PT Intel personal trainer Kathleen Trotter talks about how strength training and running go hand in hand. Besides being a personal trainer, Kathleen lives her advice, having completed 10 (count ’em!) marathons, an Ironman (well, Ironwoman to be more accurate) and 7 half Ironmans. You can also find her on Twitter.
I LOVE to run. Running is how I make myself feel better. Running is when I think things through. Running is my “me” time.
Through helping people, including myself, rehab numerous often avoidable running injuries, I have learned the wisdom of the words — don’t use running as a way to get in shape: get in shape to run.
Too many people rely on running as their sole means of exercise. Countless runners become endurance junkies who have minimal strength, power and speed. They simply have the ability to run for long periods at a slow pace. Believe me, during my early years as a runner I made this mistake BIG time. I had the endurance to run long distances, but I was not strong. Strength and endurance are related, but are not one and the same. I still maintain much of my “endurance junkie” mentality, but I am aware of the problems associated with it and I am trying to take steps to get stronger and faster. To improve my strength and speed I do speed intervals, hills, weights and boot camp classes where I get to flip tires and use a sledge hammer. Hitting a tire with a sledge hammer and pushing weight plates up a hill is my (new) idea of fun!!
I do all of this because you have to be strong to run injury-free. Running is hard on the body. Every time you land, your support leg has to absorb the weight of your body, plus additional impact forces. Your entire lower kinetic chain has to be strong enough to support continuous single leg impact forces far greater than just the weight of your body. If your kinetic chain is not strong enough and/or you don’t give yourself enough recovery time between runs, injuries occur.
Your body needs to be strong. You have to strength train! Do weights to strengthen your lower body and core so you can better handle the impact forces that occur while running.
Running uses some muscles more than others. Therefore, too much running has the potential to cause muscle imbalances. To avoid imbalances ensure you adequately recover, cross train, stretch, and strengthen both the muscles required for running as well as the muscles running neglects.
If you decide to increase your speed make sure you also increase the strength of your muscles. Your strength always needs to be equal to or greater than what is demanded from the run.
Build recovery time into your training schedule. If you add faster intervals into your training, allow for additional recovery to balance out the extra demands you are putting on your body. Also, don’t forget to stretch.