|4.) Strength Train for Power
Many runners may not be comfortable lifting heavy weights or don’t believe that time spent learning the techniques of complex movements is worthwhile. However, strength training’s return on investment will exceed that of the time you spend on junk miles and machine-based training if structured and programmed properly.
A marathon strength training routine shouldn’t attempt to replicate the perceived effort or energy systems of running. By doing so, you are only interfering with the body’s competition for resources to recover from similar demands, and completely omitting qualities of fitness that can improve endurance performance; qualities that can only be developed in the gym and not out on the road.
Early in a training cycle, strength training can revolve around movement proficiency and muscle development. However, as your mileage ramps up and you incorporate more speed and tempo work it may be most effective to shift to lower volume strength and power work.
Prioritize the compound movement patterns (squat, deadlift, press, pull), perform them at a variety of intensities, speeds, and with sufficient rest so that the same degree of effort can be repeated. Since power is the product of how much force you can put into the ground, and how quickly you can recruit the musculature necessary to do so, developing sufficient strength and size prior to targeting the power side of the equation will prepare you for better results. While runners may worry about “unnecessary” muscle mass slowing them down, the concern should be more focused on how to structure training so that the athlete can optimize qualities of strength and endurance simultaneously. To address the intricacies of this topic would require diving into a lot more detail than this blog is aiming to address. The goal of this post is to offer a few tips that can be easily implemented into your training, not to overwhelm you with the science of concurrent training (developing strength and endurance qualities simultaneously).
The main takeaway is that you should not be hesitant to incorporate strength training. Train safely but heavy and explosively. If you are unsure how to safely and most efficiently do so, we would be happy to guide you in the right direction.