STRENGTH TRAINING AND RUNNING: ARE THEY COMPATIBLE?

Whether you call yourself a jogger, a runner or a hard-core competitor, there are physical imperatives and constraints that you need to take seriously if you want to avoid being sidelined by injury. I've got a few tips to help you enjoy running to the fullest and avoid disappointing setbacks.

strength training

WHY INCORPORATE STRENGTH TRAINING INTO YOUR ROUTINE?

"Strength training" is an activity designed to increase your muscle strength by regularly doing appropriate conditioning exercises. The aim is to prepare for performance as well as prevent injury. Strength training is often done at the gym, but you can also do it at home or outdoors wherever you practise your main sport (such as along your favourite running route). To run better, it's important to do specific drills as well as strength training exercises. A few DECATHLON accessories can also come in handy!

 

To find out more about strength training, read our article on the subject: 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF RUNNING?

Posture
Joint/muscle range of movement
Intersegmental coordination
Technical ability
Endurance
Healthy movement
Plyometric strength
Motor coordination

WHAT ARE THE MAIN PHYSICAL AREAS YOU NEED TO DEVELOP TO RUN BETTER?

#1.Improvement of chains of connected tissues, such as tendons and joints.

Strength training exercises vary in intensity and repetitions to strengthen the underlying tissues of the muscles you use for your sport. Strength training may focus on a single muscle or muscle chains. It helps improve your performance by enhancing your endurance:- improved posture- better cushioning with excentric efforts)- improved propulsion at moderate or high intensity (strength endurance).

#2. Explosive strength work for endurance sports

Strength training has a range of benefits on your physical activity. If you're a runner and you limit your focus to strength or explosiveness, you won't gain weight. So you don't need to worry about adding some strength training exercises to your routine. However, you should make sure not to neglect your aerobic capacity and power (VO2 max). The aim is to encourage runners to change up their training to cover all their bases in terms of performance. This type of work seeks to adapt your body's nerve responses. Runners surely won't mind a bit of extra muscle if it improves their performance and mechanical resistance during a long run (e.g. more than two to three hours).

~Strength training (with resistance or plyometric bodyweight exercises) should be with light weights (i.e., half your single rep max). This is explosive strength work. Equipment such as push-up bars, push-up wheels, AB wheels, resistance bands and sliders are perfect for this type of work. Because running involves repeated, low intensity movements over a varied amount of time, the only relevant aspect of strength training is explosive strength work.

~Footwork, responsiveness and neuromuscular activation are also important in explosive strength work. Explosive strength work has benefits:

~- On your energy economy, by enhancing activation of your large muscle groups (quads, for running). Your feet will also spend less time in contact with the ground, because your intra- and intermuscular coordination will improve and your body will be better able to manage energy return/storage.

 

- On strengthening your type I muscle fibres. When jogging, your type I (slow-twitch) muscle fibres lose strength through overuse. This drop in strength is gradually offset by your type II (fast-twitch) muscles, which use more energy. This leads to fatigue after a boost in performance. Explosive strength work can help your type I muscles withstand more effort.

 

- Finally, you should note that the gains you achieve from explosive strength work are quickly lost if you stop (after about five weeks). If you have a race or competition coming up, simply follow tapering principles when planning your workout frequency and intensity.

#3. The basics

These are the basics you need to know if you want to improve your running, no matter your level. Anyone can do these exercises.

You can use them:~- As part of a warm-up routine,~- After a run to strengthen your muscle chains,~- As a separate workout,~- Do at least two complete circuits during the week (three will give you more sustained improvement).

#4. Helpful accessories

A few accessories (e.g. push-up bars, push-up wheel, AB wheel, resistance bands, slider) that you can easily store at home can make some of the exercises easier and more comfortable.

They'll reduce the number of injuries, improve your endurance, enhance your energy economy, break the monotony, and put a little extra in the tank for that last mile…

jeanMichelReymond

Jean-Michel Reymond

Manager of the Sport Trainers Centre at INSEP~Master's degree in Elite-Level Sport Expertise and Performance, and the European degree for ~Conditioning Coaches and the BEES 3rd level Savate Boxing~Experience: Conditioning Coach (combat sports - French Savate Boxing and ~Kickboxing Teams), rugby (USAP Top 14, cross-country skiing: Font Romeu youth centre)