Want to run both far and fast? It’s important to make sure your training in between runs is on the mark to the best of your ability. Expert trainers and running coaches all agree that the right balance of endurance and strength training is critical to achieving maximum distance and speed and helps prevent injuries.
If you’re ready to fine-tune your training regimen, keep reading to find out how to implement an ideal ratio of endurance and strength training to give you the boost you need to reach your running goals.
Muscular Strength Matters
Strength training comes with many benefits, both on and off the track. As a whole, stronger muscles help boost athletic performance by increasing stability and power in the muscles you’re using during performance. For runners, this force comes primarily from your glutes and quads.
The perks don’t stop there. In addition to improving your runs, strength training can also lead to improvements in lean muscle mass and cardiovascular or metabolic efficiencies, plus a reduction in body fat. All of these factors together will help you run faster for longer. Improved stability will also help you ward off injuries during your next run.
Start small if you don’t know where to begin your strength training. Muscular strength is built through various forms of resistance training, but it’s important to increase the resistance gradually to avoid injury or overworking the muscle.
You can use your body weight as resistance at the start and graduate to resistance bands, kettlebells, or dumbbells as you get more comfortable. Bump up the resistance when your reps feel easy, and focus on heavier weights for just a few reps for the best results. Make sure you include a generous rest period between sets to get the most out of your workout. Exercises like deadlifts, weighted barbell back squats and bench presses are great for building strength.
Endurance is one of the first things that comes to mind when runners are gunning to improve their performance. Premium endurance is arguably every runner’s goal, but not many know how to achieve optimum levels.
Your muscular endurance is your muscles’ ability to perform repetitive movements over an extended time without fatigue. Many runners think that simply increasing the frequency or length of their regular runs will do the trick, but maximum results come from deliberate muscle training.
Endurance training calls for exercises that are nearly the opposite of strength training. Bodyweight movements are actually preferred over weights and resistance exercises and plyometrics. Focus on performing a higher number of reps at low intensity with light weights. Think squats, box step-ups or standing single-leg raises.
This strategy helps improve neuromuscular connections and stabilization, giving you a better ability to circumvent gravity and ground reaction forces while keeping momentum. Endurance training also comes in handy in preventing injury, just like strength training does.
Although they are different, strength and endurance are directly related. You’ll build some strength while completing endurance exercises, and vice versa. Both types of training are critical in achieving optimal running results, helping you increase your speed and stamina.
If you’re genuinely hoping to improve the length and strength of your workout, your best bet is to include intervals of both strength and endurance training in between your regular runs. Keep a regular balance of both, or lean more toward one or the other to meet specific goals. If you want to run longer, work on endurance exercises. Strength training will give you greater bursts of powerful speed.
No matter your running goals, additional training in between miles will give you the boost you need to improve and help you conquer that uphill climb or last mile.