Train Strong; Run Stronger
From a fitness perspective, there are a few things more glorious than to see an athlete excelling at their activity. No matter if it’s swimming, rock climbing, cycling or even “just” running, I’m just a huge fan of the everyman (and woman) just performing at maximum capacity.
As someone who has dedicated his career to fitness and getting the most out of my client’s fitness training, the one common thread amongst elite cardio-based athletes is that they don’t neglect the strength training to enhance their body’s output.
Avoid Injury While Gaining Power
It might surprise you to find out that running builds very little strength, even in the legs. Strengthening does occur when someone new to running hits the trails and starts stressing those underused muscles. But, after a short period, that strengthening plateaus. What happens after that point is that you begin to expose your body to injury and limit your ability to push through physically to achieve new personal bests. To gain more power and flexibility out of your legs, like any other part of your body, you have to train them.
This doesn’t mean that you need to build your quads to the size of a running back, but when you employ strength training methods to your running regimen, the odds are you will be able to fend off more injuries while allowing you to push harder and longer with the legs.
Coach Up Those Muscles (train them)
For runners, focus on joint flexibility and movement is key to their output and improving time. Strength training can also be a huge assist when you begin to employ a running-specific coach to achieve new levels, especially when you target the upper, lower and core areas of your body.
For the most part, coaches stress the fundamentals while helping you eliminate old habits. These usually come in the form of altering technique. Much in the way a golf coach may have you change your grip or posture, a running coach may see a tiny flaw in your running form that could lead to injury or stall improvement. When a coach discovers a flaw, strength training may be required to help build muscles you need to adapt to your new running form. (Next month, I’ll explore the strength-building specifics of cycling).
Top fitness gyms in Denver and across the country stress balance in the training regimen they recommend to clients that don’t happen to be elite athletes. I would give the same advice to those lucky enough to be specialists in a specific discipline; don’t neglect strength training on your way to the top.
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