Strength Training Benefits for Runners

If you're a runner, you may be focused on building endurance and increasing your speed. While these are important aspects of running, it's also important to consider the benefits of strength training. Strength training can improve your running performance and help prevent injuries. 

Strength Training Benefits:

Improved Running Economy

Running economy refers to the amount of oxygen you need to maintain a certain pace. When you improve your running economy, you can run faster and farther with less effort. Strength training can help improve your running economy by increasing your muscle strength and power. Stronger muscles can generate more force, which means you'll be able to push off the ground with more power and take longer strides.

Injury Prevention

One of the most significant benefits of strength training for runners is injury prevention. Running puts a lot of stress on your joints and muscles, and if you're not careful, you can end up with an injury. Strength training can help prevent injuries by strengthening the muscles around your joints and improving your overall stability. For example, exercises like lunges, squats, and deadlifts can strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, which are all important for running.

Better Posture and Balance

Good posture and balance are crucial for runners, especially when running long distances. Strength training can improve your posture and balance by strengthening your core muscles. A strong core can help you maintain good posture and balance while running, which can reduce the risk of injury and improve your overall performance.

Increased Bone Density

Running is a weight-bearing exercise, which means it can help improve bone density. However, strength training can also help increase bone density by putting additional stress on your bones. When you lift weights, your bones adapt by becoming stronger and denser, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

Faster Recovery

Strength training can also help you recover faster from your runs. When you lift weights, you create small tears in your muscles. As your body repairs these tears, your muscles become stronger. This repair process also stimulates the production of growth hormone, which can help speed up recovery time.

Strength training is an essential component of any runner's training program. It can help improve your running economy, prevent injuries, improve posture and balance, increase bone density, and speed up recovery time. If you're new to strength training, it's best to start with bodyweight exercises and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger. Remember to always listen to your body and give yourself time to recover between workouts. By incorporating strength training into your running routine, you can become a stronger, faster, and more resilient runner.

Cassie Whittaker Cassie is the Communications Coordinator for Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. She has been writing and reviewing medical content since 2020.

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