Should runners do strength training?

Just run, that’s enough? Or is it?
Becoming the better and faster runner, doesn’t only mean tons of running alone. Runners should also do the strength training to improve their running form, endurance, speed and other physiological factors. M. Chatara et al. (2005) show that strength training improve VO2max, whereas Støren et al. (2008) proved that strength training improved time of exhaustion level in maximal aerobic speed. There are tons of studies which show similar results, and no wonder why most of the elite athlete do some strength training. Even though there are variable between training group, for example Nike Oregon project runners hit some heavy weight training once in the while when most of the Kenyan runners don’t perform strength training at all.

I believe that each one of us should find which training method suit best for themselves. It would be good to consider injury background, weaknesses and strengths, running form and some physiological factors.

Good strength exercise for runners should be those that are used during running, but not necessarily are worked as much, support muscles. Core strength (abs and back), arm muscles, without forgetting legs and buttocks muscles as strength training gives variable these muscles and can work smaller muscles which support bigger one and offer balance.

Movement exercises are excellent, as everything which goes over two joints. You don’t have to sit on the bench and do the tons of biceps curls to make your arm look big as that doesn’t make you faster or better runner. Concentrate the functional movement. You don’t have to use heavy weight, if you are not want to, even body weight training is good. The purpose is to use weight and exercise which feel effective, but not ruin your running exercises for next couple of days.

Chtara, M., Chamari, K., Chaouachi, M., Chaouachi, A., Koubaa, D., Feki, Y., … Amri, M. (2005). Effects of intra-session concurrent endurance and strength training sequence on aerobic performance and capacity. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 39(8), 555–560.

STØREN, Ø., Helgerud, J. A. N., Støa, E. M., & Hoff, J. A. N. (2008). Maximal strength training improves running economy in distance runners. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 40(6), 1087-1092.
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