The importance of strength training for runners

Dearly beloved runners,

I hope you are sitting comfortably as this sermon promises to be a contentious read... or perhaps I should ask whether you are running comfortably as this pertains to the subject matter I am about to discuss.

Yet unsurprisingly this is not a new phenomenon I am about to present. The top runners and many mortals have been doing it as a matter of course.

‘It’ is strength training!

At this point, many will flick to another post about Love Island or the unthinkable collapse of our royal family. Many, including me, call this ‘lip service’ or perhaps self-conceited arrogance.

Yet everyday, without fail, in our store I see at least one person who has some ache, pain or worse, often in the lower limb/ shin area. So perhaps keep reading, and maybe just save yourself some time on the injured list.

The solution? Buy new running shoes?

Kerching £££ - I hear you cry! Yes - if I was a superstore chain with no scruples and such a low moral compass that I would put an 11 year old on a treadmill and advise that they need a stability shoe in a kids size 1! (Yes - it’s happened! And guess what? There are no kids stability running shoes available because they are not required).

Thankfully for all our sakes, I’m not. So the solution is rest, ease up, look at your running form, slowly increase running time/ distance and yes: INCLUDE SOME STRENGTH TRAINING into your routine.

Now I’m not a certified medical professional but I am a qualified sports therapist and many will argue against the next statement but...

I believe that the NHS Couch to 5k, and many others like it, come up short and are flawed...

Got your attention now, eh?

I appreciate it has helped loads get into running, be more active, lose weight, increase fitness levels, keep me in business but it could be so much better without much more effort...

Lose one of the running/ walking days and replace with a resistance/ strength training session aimed at runners.

I’m not talking pumping iron Arnie style... I’m talking more lunges, squats, deadlifts, glute bridges, and, if possible, doing them on one leg followed by the other!

If you run 5k, then 2.5k is on one leg. Similarly in a marathon, 13.1 miles will be on one leg and the remaining 13.1 on the other!

Think about it... if you decide to drive your car across Europe all the way to the Far Eastern side of Asia, you would prepare the car accordingly. Maybe get better tyres, beef up the suspension, put more storage racks in the roof... you get the idea.

So if you are going to prepare to run 5k or at some point a marathon, or further, and you have been idle for a period leading up to this... you better injury-proof your body.

Yes, a running training programme is essential as per the Couch to 5k, but why not protect the body as it attempts to pound a pavement for minutes and hours on end?

For those of you pushing PBs, check out some of the top athletes training regimes:

Mo Farah, Killian Jornet et al all resistance train and, contrary to the stereotypical opinion, they don’t grow huge muscles like the hulk.

To get faster, get stronger. To help stay injury free, get stronger. To reduce body mass, get stronger.

“Where? What? How?” I hear you ask.

Well that’s a whole new blog but there are plenty of resources out there. Your local gym has the facilities and often the expertise to help but if you don’t like gyms, home workouts are suitable, using just your body weight.

The team at Run Venture help facilitate a runners' strength clinic once a week with a local physiotherapist, Catalyst Kinetics.

Failing that, go into your local independent running store or local running club and ask for some direction.

We all know that it will help our running but we avoid it because it’s much easier to just go out for a run.

I can’t make you do it - it’s up to you as an individual. Hopefully this may just convince a few more of you.

Here ends the lesson.

Mind how you run,


#strengthtraining #weighttraining #CatalystKinetics