What are the benefits of strength training for runners?

Anyone that runs regularly will want to improve their running and the common thought is that they need to run more to do so. Whilst that may work in the initial stages, you will plateau quite quickly and be left frustrated by lack of progress. A way you can work on this is via strength training, this form of training has a few different benefits:

  • Changes up current training program which may increase enjoyment
  • Decreases the accumulative load on the body/lower extremity – running can cause anywhere from 3-5 x your body weight of force through opposing ground reaction forces.
  • Research has shown that strength training improves running economy, which results in better running performance.
  • Strength training is one of the few ways that have been shown to lower your risk of injury (considering running has the highest injury rate out of any physical activity completed), so it’s a must for runners.

Most of the injured runners we deal with at Hobsons Bay Health Group upon assessment, have a strength discrepancy from side to side or a muscle imbalance that results in them becoming injured and having to miss running sessions due to injury. The way we solve this issue is through strength training, with the aim to progressively overload the joints, muscles and tendons to improve their capacity to withstand the load of running and other exercises. Not only will it improve you running but strength training has the added benefits of increasing your, mobility, flexibility and stability.

How to run faster and further with strength training

Strength training comes in many forms and is dependant on what your goals are. For example, if you are a long-distance runner you will want to focus more on strength-endurance than a 100m athlete who would look at working on improving their explosive power. If you are new to strength training starting with a general program will be the most beneficial way to improve strength, power and endurance. Once you start to find the program easy you can then start to focus on a few key areas that need improvement. As an Osteopath with a background in Strength and Conditioning I can tailor an individualised program to get the most out of your training and be the strongest and fittest you have ever been!!

How to prevent and treat injuries with strength training

A Strength program that is designed for a runner will target keys areas such as the glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, adductors and core. All of these muscles are active (some over-active which is part of the problem) during running and it is important that we make sure they are strong and robust enough to deal with all the Km’s that you want run. It is also important to note that the exercises need to address any previous injuries that you may have suffered from i.e. lower back pain when running, having an extra emphasis on glutes and core strength would be best for athletic performance and injury reduction.

How can Osteopathy help with running?

When you book in for an Osteopathy consultation to manage your running injury, your Osteopath will:

  1. Assess and accurately diagnose your injury
  2. Provide treatments to reduce pain immediately
  3. Assess the underlying cause of your injury – We look at all areas of your body and training program i.e. training load, muscle weakness or poor technique
  4. Provide management to address the reason/s for your injury by creating a personalised running program that addresses technique, muscle imbalances/weaknesses and load management to avoid any relapses.

Remember that prevention is better than the cure! If you want to push your running into hyper speed, book in and have an injury prevention screening. You will be able to run further, faster more frequently and best of all, pain free!

Hobsons Bay Health Group

If you’re unsure about how to incorporate strength training into your exercises regime or how Osteopathy can help you and your injury get in contact with us at Hobsons Bay Health Group and we can definitely point you in the right direction.

Book online or get in touch for more information.