If you think preparing for a race means solely running more and more each day, you’re mistaken. While of course, you should have running sessions to improve your technique and endurance, that’s only half the training you should be doing.
Runners should also be focusing on athletic strength training, which means hitting the gym and on a consistent basis. We definitely understand that one of the benefits of running, is that it is primarily outdoors… the fresh air hitting you while you are in motion is a great feeling – it may be safe to say it is one of the main reasons you have chosen running as your ‘sport’. But trust us, strength training will make you a stronger runner at the end of the day and when it counts on the track.
And if you are still hesitant, trust science: even a low-intensity strength training program done a couple times a week can help you face the challenges of a race better, according to a systematic review from tested trials in the US National Library of Medicine.
Why It Can Help
Everything in your body is connected, and not just by your bones and tissue. Strength training helps make your body stronger as a whole, which essentially means you can be more equipped to handle high-intensity runs for longer periods of time without feeling like you’re about to crash.
When your muscles are working together, your body learns how to consume energy efficiently, meaning you won’t necessarily get easily tired on the course. And that extra power can help you win the race.
Tips for Runners
But don’t just start lifting weights and call it a day. Here are some strength training tips to consider:
- Choose exercises that help running: Squats are a great option, they help improve leg muscles, balance and stability
- Slow and steady wins the race: Start slow and gradually add more weights – you don’t want to strain anything that would prevent competing
- Combination practices: Cardio is great, but combine it with other bodyweight exercises like jump squats
- Steer clear of last minute training: Never train the week before the race, as muscles can get sore
Strength Training Helps Your Feet
Any runner knows you can strengthen your leg muscles all you want, but if you have any kind of pain in your feet, then it will be very difficult to carry on with the race.
So you’ll be happy to know that strength training is also quite beneficial for your feet. Many of the exercises you will do in strength training requires having the proper position to perform them, including the position of your feet. You will then start to distribute your body weight evenly on the foot, and avoid relying too much on specific areas.
Additionally, there are plenty of strength training exercises specifically designed for your feet. Start with a golf ball roll to relieve your feet of any pains, then begin a few reps of toe curls or marble pick-up to strengthen the toes.
Over to You
Runners need to take care of their entire body if they want to improve themselves with each race, and the way to start is through strength training, particularly the exercises that address the health of your feet.
If you are running into foot issues and it’s interfering with your strength training and running performance, reach out to Triangle Foot & Ankle Specialist – call to set up an appointment by calling (919) 851-3435 today! We specialize in helping athletes and getting them back on track.