Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Guest Post: Running Strength Pat Walsh

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Guest Post: Running Strength Pat Walsh

 ** Running Strength ** 

Rewrite of a post from a few years back. Hope it will be of help and maybe put you thinking. Thanks for so many kind comments last week about running and racing. 

We all need strength to keep us fit, healthy and active as runners, but how much do we need and what time should be spent on our strength training.

Strength training exercises will not only help you prevent injury, but it will also make you a stronger, faster, and more efficient runner. . 

* We need leg strength to power our legs to finish the run.
* We need leg strength to get up those hills that Races sometimes throw at us.
* We need core strength to keep our posture and perform as efficiently as possible.
* We need upper body strength to keep our arms working and the head erect for proper breathing and running form.

But how much do we need?

Runners need a different strength-training program than your standard gym plan. Instead of big single muscle exercises such as bicep curls, leg extensions, and bench presses, runners should focus on targeting the key muscles that will keep them balanced and moving forward.

Do we need a weekly (or twice weekly) Hour session in a Gym 


Footballers play football, Body builders lift weights, Runners Run 

If you finish a race and your legs are just tired, some lactic acid in the muscles and a bit stiff the day after, then by and large you are ok. The running itself will help leg strength, some hill repeats also works wonders (ahhhh..!!) and some squats or lunges at home can help build the strength required.

If you die on hills but recover soon after then your cardio side is fine but you do need to work on leg strength. This should be planned out and put into a weekly program otherwise you will always dread the hilly routes. It can be sorted but you will have to be patient and give it time.

Regular leg work (3 times a week at home for 5 minutes) plus a weekly hill session (ahhhh again..!!) should do the trick.

We need core strength to maintain posture and form during a race. Some simple core exercises such as the Plank or one of the many that can be got from any yoga search can be done at home again a few times per week.

We all complain sometimes of aches in the shoulders and neck late into long runs and again these can be helped by some work at home. Shoulder Press, Press up or many others will help this area.

Doing forget to stretch this area as well as maybe tension or lack of flexibility could also be the problem.

* So 3 areas, legs, core and upper body can all be helped and improved by developing a 5 minute routine for each (total 15mins) and do this at home few times per week.

Squats or Lunges with an overhead dumbbell action are full body exercises that are much more beneficial. 

Try to be smart and do it on days when the running session isn’t too hard.

These exercises can be done at home a few times a week with little disruption to domestic life and give you more time for running. 

Examples for some simple exercises that can be done at home, just “google” them, and there is loads of help and advice available. No need for expensive equipment.

If you do feel you need some serious strength work then try to plan a few weeks where you are recovering from a previous race and nothing coming up in the next month or 2. 

Get the strength up and then a light maintenance routine will hold that gain.

Lifting a huge barbell in a chest press is of no use to a distance runner as the muscle gained has to be carried around the run. Far better to use body weight for press-ups or some light dumbbells for Chest-Fly or other exercises

Core work, and body weight exercises should be a consistent part of your training to ensure you stay strong and athletic. If you’re a runner who’s more likely to get hurt, 5-10 extra minutes of strength work will go a long way in keeping you healthy, consistent, and ultimately, faster. 

Runners Run. 

Have a nice weekend. 🏃‍♀️

#pwr #keeponrunning

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