When designing strength-training programs for athletes, it's important to keep the ultimate goal in mind: their skill (or sport). Meaning an athlete is an athlete first. A runner is a runner who uses strength training to complement his or her ability to run. You want to incorporate strength training to improve the athletic skill and to help that athlete achieve his or her optimal potential.
I often see strength-training routines that are jam-packed with way too much volume; especially considering all the other activities that individual is doing in a given week. I admit that I used to load my elite, professional athletes up with 3 to 4 resistance training workouts a week and try to crush them in every workout. I've quickly learned that sometimes less is more and that strength training is a piece of the puzzle in a complete, effective program.
Putting It Together
There are countless running programs right here on Active.com to help you improve and log your miles in a safe and periodized manner. The purpose of this piece is to show you a simple, easy-to-follow strength-training routine that you can use in conjunction with your running routine.
If you are running 2 to 4 days a week then you should shoot for 2 to 3 strength-training sessions each week. Remember to get at least one day off from both to allow your body to rest, recover, and regenerate. One or two "off" days are very important to help prevent injury and over-training.
Some people are hesitant to lift weights in fear of getting too bulky and that getting bigger will slow them down. It's important for runners to understand the purpose of strength training which, again, is to improve their running performance. Proper strength training also leads to:
- Increased muscle strength
- Increased rate of force development
- Enhanced neuromuscular function
- Reduced risk of injuries