Part 1 – Do runners need to do strength training?

I’m a Runner – Why should I do Strength Training? Can’t I just run?Yes you can do sport specific training and choose to only run in your exercise routine, if that’s what you want to do, that’s completely fine. You can improve by just having a crack at running ‘more’, you can improve even more by making sure your running program is well balanced and structured to include different types of running training. However, there’s many benefits of strength/resistance training for any discipline (running, swimming, dancing, martial arts, netball…) and for your everyday life (counteracting sitting at a desk at work, keeping up with your kids in the park, gardening in the backyard, moving furniture around the house..). Faster building of muscles and strength, better posture and alignment, more efficient movement, injury prevention and rehabilitation (prevention is obviously best)… It makes sense that becoming stronger is a good thing, but that doesn’t mean you have to dedicate every spare minute to the gym and compete in strongman contests, it’s not an ‘all or nothing’ situation (like most areas of life, it’s about finding a balance). As runners, some supplementary strength training can be a great addition to your training program. I’m going to touch on the reasons why/how in this post and will sporadically throw out more info on the subject, between exercise posts, in the future. Why? – Part 1 – Creating Better Structural AlignmentWhat we practise repeatedly becomes habit, so we should practise in the best way we can, to create the best habits possible, right?! Out on the trails we’re moving fast, even if you don’t think you are, and it can be hard to analyse, control and improve your technique whilst moving at speed. So you may have some bad habits in your structural alignment (knock knees, duck butt, hunch back…), you may just be trying to improve your movement efficiency, but it can be difficult at first to correct/improve whilst running. The gym can be like going to school for your body, learning better alignment/structure to your movement which can transfer over to better running technique/habits.Many ‘issues’ with running are due to poor alignment, “Isn’t running bad for your knees?!”, “No! Bad running is bad for your knees!” As animals, humans are made for long distance walking and running, not flying or swimming etc, although we’re lucky to be able to have a crack at lots of things. So running should be a natural movement, however modern life has happened and we’ve, collectively, forgotten/unlearned how we’re meant to move. No we’re not just meant to sit around in chairs all day, at home, at work, in the car… When performing strength exercises you are moving slower than when running, so it’s easier to move in a controlled, deliberate manner. We can correctly align the skeletal structure of the body and build our musculature in a well balanced way, so that the muscles, ligaments and tendons will learn once again to hold your bones in better alignment (the job of your muscles is essentially to manipulate your bones to create movement). This better alignment will transfer over to our movement in other activities outside the gym, obviously for purposes of this post – to aid our running. This doesn’t just happen instantaneously so we need to practise regularly. A consistent strength routine that is progressively building the resistance of your exercises will build stronger musculature and when done with disciplined technique, will be creating better structural habits. I’ll continue to focus on this structural alignment, amongst other things, in all following exercise posts, hopefully to help guide you to improved technique and better running 🤩 

Train hard, train smart

Ricey 🤟🏻😃