Running as a sole form of training can only take an athlete so far. At some point, other forms of training must be integrated in order to create further strength and power adaptations required for more advanced mechanics. This is very common with developing sprinters. Additionally, some distance runners cannot accumulate any more mileage until their strength is further upgraded to allow them to handle the additional stress of more foot contacts. It is not uncommon to see these runners hobbled by low back pain, shin pain and/or hip pain when they increase their mileage by as little as 10 percent. The tipping point between healthy athlete and injured athlete can be closer than you think. By bolstering an athletes strength foundation, you can keep them out of the danger zone when it comes to overuse injuries.
Strength and power training can be performed using many different forms of exercise. While most people interpret strength training to mean weight training, lifting weights is only one of many means of building strength. Simple body weight exercises can form the strength foundation for a large proportion of the running population. For speed and power athletes, weight training will be required to a greater extent. However, other means of strength and power training such as medicine ball throws, plyometrics and jumps, sled pulls and hill training can be applied in a comprehensive training program. Recreational runners can also benefit from variations on these exercises to improve elasticity in the feet, power in the hips and strength in the hip flexors. Even basic running drills – utilizing skips, marches and runs – when performed appropriately, can yield signficant performance gains by strengthening the hips and lower extremities.
At RunningMechanics.com, we are careful to integrate our strength programs in a manner that is compatible with our clients. Often, strength coaches will simply impose their training philosophy on an athlete, without due consideration for the critical elements in the program (i.e. the running). While an athlete may get stronger in the weightroom, what really matters is whether or not that newly attained strength is positively converting to their sport in question. If an athlete’s strength is increasing at the expense of their running performance, you have a problem. We have the knowledge and experience to know where to take your strength training and how much to prescribe to improve your running.
Contact us now to find out how to enhance your running performance through a well designed strength training program.