I’m a runner. Do I need to worry about a barbell?


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Traditionally, the mindset for runners or endurance athletes has been to stay as far away from the weight room as possible. Often, fears of bulking, losing speed or even inexperience with the process would perpetuate this issue. However, with more recent research and success for premier athletes subscribing to strength training, this mindset is beginning to change.


Despite the tides beginning to change, there still appears to be a lack of presence of runners in the weight room. In fact, in a study published just last year, it was found that among competitive distance runners, only 62.5 percent utilized resistance training. Much more commonly performed were stretching (86.2 percent) and core stability exercises (70.2 percent). While these are excellent components of a program, it would be like eating just the cheese and lettuce off of a club sandwich. What about the meat and the bread?


To answer some common concerns from runners with regard to strength training, let’s turn to a study that examined the impact of this regimen on performance.


“Won’t I bulk up if I perform strength training? I run to be lean, and I don’t want to lose any speed by putting on weight.”


- Actually, it was found that body composition was notdifferent between those runners that perform strength training and those that do not. So, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t put on excess bulk with a quality program.


“I’m concerned that if I start strength training then I will lose speed because I’m training a different sport.”


- This is a wise question to ask, but one that is ultimately not a concern. These studies found that runners who strength train actually improved time trial performance, anaerobic speed qualities, and running efficiency! So not only do you get stronger, but you get faster, too.


“Will strength training reduce my injury risk? I’m worried that I will get hurt lifting or that it won’t help me reduce running injury risk.”


- Excellent question. What are runners most concerned about? Speed and not getting injured. Strength training that is performed safely and within a quality program can only help your injury risk. At worst, you will just get stronger with the same injury risk as before.


At this point you may be asking: “Alright, Ryan, that sounds nice and all, but I’ve never touched a barbell in my life. I’m not about to roll up to LA Fitness and start pumping iron like some gym rat. How do I start?”


I cannot stress enough the importance of an individualized, intentional training program designed for you by a professional. While you could go to the bookstore and pick any magazine off of the shelf with a plan inside, it won’t be tailored to your specific needs. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, I have the tools to help you get started on your journey of strength training – while keeping in mind your medical history and particular injury risks. Once you get your feet under you and need more, we know some excellent strength coaches right down the road at The Rack Athletic Performance Center.


Call us today to set up a consultation for your first steps toward strength training!


Talk to you soon,

Ryan


Sources

1. Blagrove, Richard C., et al. "Strength and Conditioning Habits of Competitive Distance Runners." Journal of strength and conditioning research (2017).

2. Blagrove, Richard C., Glyn Howatson, and Philip R. Hayes. "Effects of Strength Training on the Physiological Determinants of Middle-and Long-Distance Running Performance: A Systematic Review." Sports Medicine (2017): 1-33.

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