Do Runners Really Need Strength Training Beyond Core Workouts?

The last several years have seen an explosion of interest in core workouts for runners.

And for good reason: Runner-specific core workouts are helpful for improving your general strength, helping you maintain good running form (especially late in a workout or race when you're tired), and preventing injuries.

Injury prevention is the top reason that runners should regularly do runner-specific core workouts. With a focus on strengthening the glutes, hips, hamstrings and lower abdominals, core workouts outfit runners with the armor they need to withstand the rigors of running.

More: Why Strength Training Is Key to Running Strong

Since beginners and those who don't have a background in strength work are generally weak or have imbalances caused by a largely sedentary life, core workouts are incredibly valuable. They provide the foundation that helps runners stay healthy.

More: How Runners Can Begin a Strength-Training Program

But more traditional strength training—like gym workouts that include heavy lifts like squats or dead lifts—still plays a valuable role in a runner's training program.

Why Lift Weights?

If you're a veteran to the world of core workouts and can do core exercises like these without any problems, you may want to devote time to getting even stronger by lifting weights. But why? If you can improve your running economy, strength and resilience to injuries with simple core exercises, is there really a reason to lift weights in the gym?

Yes, for the simple reason that functional, multi-joint lifts do even more to help you stay healthy and get stronger.

Weighted exercises can also make you faster. Lifting heavy weight recruits lots of muscle fibers; this comes in handy when you want to sprint at the end of a race—your body can use more of your muscles to run more powerfully.

More: 4 Strength Training Exercises to Make You Faster

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About the Author

Jason Fitzgerald

Jason Fitzgerald is a USATF-certified running coach, 2:39 marathoner, and the founder of Strength Running. Have a question about running? Download the free Strength Running PR Guide to get 35+ answers to the most commonly asked questions about running.
Jason Fitzgerald is a USATF-certified running coach, 2:39 marathoner, and the founder of Strength Running. Have a question about running? Download the free Strength Running PR Guide to get 35+ answers to the most commonly asked questions about running.

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