Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Runners and Resistance Training, Part 3

"Why do endurance athletes continue to do large volumes of steady-state work?  There are three basic reasons:
  1. They're good at it. 
  2. It's easy to do
  3. They've always been told they need an aerobic base."
~Mike Boyle (has trained countless competitive endurance athletes to faster times and decreased injuries)

This final post in the mini-series is going to be pretty brief.  I hope at this point most of you reading realize just how important a solid strength training program is to an endurance athlete's success.  Please pass it along to anyone you know who partakes in distance running!

To the distance runners in the crowd: I hope by now you understand just how much a well-designed strength training program can aid your running (hint: A LOT).  I challenge you to critically think about what may be holding you back from stepping out of your comfort zone getting involved in strength training.  Question all the pre-conceived notions you may have:
  • "Why do I believe this?"
  • "Who told me this?"
  • "Is this belief actually grounded upon any reason or logic, or is it just what the media has been telling me?"
  • Have I had a negative experience with weight training or a trainer in the past that has skewed my views?"
I am not going to write an entire running-oriented program on the blog.  That wasn't the purpose of this series.  Plus, that would make it too easy for you :)  However, I'll at least point you in the right direction.  Ready?

Step 1Buy a foam roller.  No, seriously, buy one.  I trust this isn't too far outside your comfort zone.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last decade, you realize that soft tissue work is critical to more effective training sessions, decreased risk of injury, and increased chance of people of the opposite gender wanting to hang out with you.

Foam Rolling = Likelihood of this happening soon.  You'll thank me later.  

Step 2: Use your foam roller.  Endurance athletes' bodies (actually, most people's bodies) contain a host of trigger points, scar tissue, and dense tissue (not good) that are a recipe for overuse injury.  Spending time on your foam roller would be better spent than logging those extra miles!

Fortunately, a great video has already been filmed demonstrating most of problem areas you can cover with the foam roller.  The more it hurts, the more this means you need to work on that tissue quality.  But you'll feel incredible after doing this regularly.  I kid you not:

Step 3Begin a strength training program.  Where to begin?  Look on fixing the problem areas discussed in Part 1: create mobile ankles, hips, and thoracic spine with the proper drills.  This can be accomplished in the pre-workout warm-up, or as a "filler" between the primary exercises. 
Also, seek to stabilize the knees and torso through a good lower-body program and core work.  Stick to single-leg exercises primarily.  And avoid those Adductor/Abductor machines like the plague (that is, unless you desire zero results and turning your body into a functional mess). 
How in the world did these things become so popular?

For example, let's take the basic lunge.  It trains the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and even the trunk stabilizers at the same time, all while teaching these muscles (along with the tensor fascia latae, adductors, and quadratus lumborum) to interact as one flawless unit.  Ok, ok, what does this do, in non-geek speak?  As you run, efficiency will be improved via enhanced strength and neural control of these muscles, along with lowering your risk of low back pain, knee pain, and anterior (at the front) hip pain.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

Anyway, that's all for now.  Don't let yourself become another statistic.


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