What Are You Missing in Your Distance Training Program?
This blog was written by Brandon Johnson CSCS, FMS, USAW
What if I could give you one simple key to running faster, decreasing injuries and feeling better when you run? Would you be excited to learn about what you are missing in your training program? The simple answer: weight training! Weight training is becoming much more of an accepted practice for endurance runners. Elite-level runners have embraced weight training and have made it a part of their training programs.
There are a whole host of reasons for endurance athletes to add weight training to their training regimens. First and foremost, an organized strength training program has been proven over and over again to help reduce the occurrence of injuries. Not only severe injuries, but the muscle strains and sprains that plague your routines. Weight training also makes you a more efficient runner. Weight training makes your nervous system work better, especially when you challenge yourself with heavier loads. This is a big one for endurance athletes; traditional multi-joint exercise (for example, squats and deadlifts) have been shown to promote more core strength than other abdominal strengthening routines. Squatting provides a more natural movement to challenge your core strength than sit-ups or crunches. One last benefit that I will discuss here is a change in body composition. Weight training can help promote a leaner body, slow the catabolic effect of endurance training and increase the uptake of fatty acids to spare glycogen during running. Sparing your glycogen stores early or throughout your run saves those stores for late in the race when you are trying to push for the finish.
How do you implement a weight training program? Start slowly—I recommend adding two days per week of weight training. Find movements that you are comfortable with and build confidence in the weight room and progress from there. Start with a moderate volume of eight to 10 reps for three sets of a chosen exercise. After three to four weeks, move down in your rep range to four to eight reps for three or four sets. I also recommend free weight exercises to help promote core strength, balance and coordination. If you feel uncomfortable with free weights, start with machines and try to move to free weights after you have built some confidence.
Learn more about how Bon Secours Sports Performance can help you achieve your training goals.