Why do you need to get strong? It feels amazing! In fact, one of the first blogs I wrote for I Run Success was 7 Reasons why you must strength train, and there are a lot of really good reasons why strength training is great for runners. The main ones are injury prevention and enhanced running performance. However, there are a lot more reasons why strength training is great for runners, or anyone really, and that’s what this blog is about.
Some people find going into a gym very intimidating. I understand that, and also know that no amount of logic about how it is a very safe environment, and how no one really looks at how you’re training except the fitness instructors who are doing it for your safety. But if you can overcome that and start strength training (and it doesn’t need to be in a gym), then you will find the endorphins released with strength training make you feel great. Strength training is a great antidepressant, and it can also help your sleep and overall quality of life.
There is an assumption that a lot of people make that as you age, you will get that ‘middle age spread’ and if you get really old you’ll become the kind of person who ‘has a fall’ rather than falls. However, weight bearing activity and particularly strength training can prevent both of these phenomena.
The image below shows the difference in muscle tone from a 74 year old sedentary man and a 70 year old triathlete. This is a cross sectional view of the thighs, so it shows just how much difference regular activity can make. If you have already started to lose muscle tone, strength training can really help it start building up.
Because of the improved body composition that strength training brings, it can really help to keep your weight controlled, which helps running immensely.
It’s really up to you. I believe the best way to get started with anything new is to find a teacher, and in the world of strength training, that’s a personal trainer. Find one local to you, and if its to help your running, make sure that they understand the importance of single leg stability training, posterior chain training, and core training for runners. If they look at you blankly when you mention these things, they may not be the best trainer for your running goals, though they will get you strong.
If you want to work with someone who lives and breathes running though, yours truly is here to help, and you have 3 options.
If you have any questions about getting started with strength training, just pop me a message and I’ll be happy to help.
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Angela Isherwood is the founder of I Run Success
She is a REPs Level 3 Personal Trainer, a Run England Running coach, and a multiple marathon runner. She is a London Marathon Good for Age runner, a Boston Marathon Qualifier, a parkrun Run Director and Trainer for Goodgym Colchester.