Why Runners Should Lift
5 major reasons runners should add lifting to their routine.
You often hear: “Oh, I exercise all the time – I run/do cardio. I don’t lift weights, though.” Or “I lift weights, I don’t need to run/cardio.” The truth is, a well-rounded person is a fit and healthy person. Doing both is a great way to achieve the body you want.
Especially if you’re a runner, you should add strength training to your routine. Here are 5 reasons why (and a sample workout at the end):
1. You will get hurt FAR less often. Every time you take a stride, your muscles, joints and bones are in a certain position. Strength training – particularly lower body movements such as barbell squat, deadlift, and lunges – can help make sure that position is a strong, high quality position. Having strength in the muscles you use to run means that your joints are in a better position and are more supported then if you skipped your strength workouts.
2. Being stronger can help make you run faster. Although you don’t need to be a powerlifter or strongman to get better times (indeed, adding a bunch of extra weight to your frame isn’t the goal here), learning to do movements properly and getting stronger at them over time – without dramatically increasing your bodyweight – will help you move around much better. Instead of just looking to increase your weights, think of increasing your strength-to-bodyweight ratio. That is, the amount of strength you have in given movements relative to your current bodyweight.
3. And make you run more efficiently (with fewer “junk miles”). When all you do is run, some of those miles are likely to be what you can think of as “junk miles.” That means that you’re spending the time, energy and effort banging away running miles that just aren’t translating to better running. When you run 5-10 times per week, this is bound to happen. In other words, a workout should put more into you then it takes out. Some runs, as we all know, just don’t do that. Throwing in 2-3 weight training sessions each week helps make sure that you prioritize the workouts and the miles that get you better at running, because your time becomes more precious.
4. Strength training requires you to refocus your nutrition efforts. Remember when you first started running, you’d feel good about the workout so you’d eat healthy the rest of the day? But over time, it just becomes a part of what you do, so sometimes the bad nutrition habits slip back in. If that sounds familiar, strength training will inspire you to refocus your efforts on building better food habits, trimming a few extra pounds of unwanted body fat while improving your performance. A true win-win!
5. You will have a better body. Why? Well, this is actually the simplest reason to incorporate weight training. When you combine the fat burning effects of a sound running program, with lifting, you will develop a lean, healthy and muscular (but not bulky) body.
Sample Routine for Runners
Check out this simple, 4-week 2x/week routine you can follow to incorporate into your running regimen:
- Barbell Squat 3×5
- Dumbbell Bench Press 3×8-10
- Dumbbell Lunges 4×12 per leg
- Bodyweight rows 4×10
- Hanging knee raise 3×15
- Barbell Deadlift 3×5
- Barbell ‘RDL’ Romanian deadlift 3×8
- Pushups 3x 10-15
- Pull-up (band assisted if needed) 3×8 – 12
- Plank 3x max time
Performed as sets x reps, rest 90-120 seconds between sets. Perform all sets before moving onto the next one. Always use proper form, warm-up, have a spotter and consult your physician before taking part of any physical activity/exercise program. All exercise programs are done at your own risk.
Mike Spagnola opened Edge Fitness & Performance in Cary in 2011 at just 20 years old. Today, Edge has a client base of more than 150 men and women of all fitness levels, from athlete to beginner, ages 10 to 65-plus. The coaching staff at Edge has helped hundreds in McHenry County reach their fitness and fat loss goals. Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.