Strength Training: What, When, How, and Why?
If you’ve followed my blog for anytime now, you know that…
- I love running
- I am passionate about sharing the importance of strength training.
I’ve talked over here about the raw facts of strength training, sharing its importance and focusing on the benefits. But, I haven’t given you some basic facts about how strength training works and looks in a runner’s life.
First, before I dive into what strength training tangibly looks like, let’s breeze over a few basic facts.
- Strength training helps us stay strong and decreases our changes of injury. (By 90% according to Runner’s Connect.)
- Strength training makes us more efficient runners, faster and healthier!
Strength training is important, because it keeps our bodies strong and works out different muscle areas than or normal runs do. If we have strong hips, glutes, and legs, we are more stable on the ground, less prone to injury, faster, and have better endurance.
So that all sounds great, but HOW do I do it? And WHEN?
Good question! I’m glad you asked 😉 Personally, I incorporate strength training into my workout regime 4-5x times a week, even if it small amount of time. I love total body workouts, but it is good to focus on one specific area of your body to put 100% targeted effort into those muscles, so you can tear them down and build them back up.
Also, according to Runner’s Connect, our hardest effort strength training days should be on our run days. Why?
“If you were to perform harder strength workouts, especially anything that involves the lower body, on your easy running day the added stress and shortened total recovery time between workouts would detract from your body’s recovery ability.”
(<<< In all honesty, I totally just learned this recently!)
Basically, make sure that your hardest strength training day is not on your recovery day, since that day is for recovery. Makes sense, right?
Okay, so we now know when, but how, what kind of strength training should I do?
Well, to be honest, there are many, many ways you can strength train. Personally, I use free weights and my body weight. Most (okay, pretty much all) my strength training is done at home, in my living room and the workouts last no more than an hour. I take advantage of the many workouts there are on YouTube and I also assign my husband to helping me create upper body workouts (since he is more gifted in that than I am.) I also like to try different at home, body weight workouts other fellow bloggers share.
So, fellow runner, take heart if you are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged! Strength training doesn’t need to be over complicated or super long; a sweaty 25 minute HIIT will cure that thought! I’ve done many short, sweaty and super productive strength training workouts under thirty minutes and I can testify with how effective they are!
Also, if you are looking for specific strength training workouts, you can find some of my favorite, here. In this link, I made a list of my favorite at home workouts from various bloggers and YouTubers, so you can have them all at your fingertips!
So you know the how and when, but why? Why should we bother with strength training?
Well, one of the biggest reasons I strength train is for injury prevention and maintaining/ building muscle. Runners are definitely strong, (can I get an amen?!) but sometimes we, as runners, can be, what people like to say as, “skinny fat.” We run, but we don’t really have muscle because we run it all off. (Womp, womp.) One way to combat this, is adding strength training into our routines to help us keep, maintain, and build the muscle we have!
To be perfectly candid with you guys, I’ve gone through many different phases of my running career and I’ve seen the difference when I am purposely strength training and not. I’ve always noticed that when I do some type of strength training and focus on strong arms, legs, abs, glutes, etc. I am a lot more tone, a lot stronger, and less injured than when I leave strength training out.
Yes, strength training takes a bit more time, effort, and consistency, but in the end, it is worth it if it keeps us running longer, healthier, and stronger, right?
Questions of the Day
- Do you currently incorporate strength training into your workouts regime? How do you do it?
- What is your favorite part of your body to workout?
- What is your biggest challenge with strength training?