Strength Training For Runners

Strength training. We all know it’s important… right? Strength training has been accepted among the endurance community as an important component of training. It’s assumed that if we lift weights it will somehow benefit performance. But how? How much strength training is needed? What type of strength exercises? These are all questions that still exist among endurance athletes.

To learn more about the type of strength exercises included amongst runners, I conducted a very non-scientific poll. Basically, it consisted of me asking my runner friends, “Hey, do you strength train? What type?” The most common answer was “Yes” and “Core.” When further probed as to how often, the most common answer was, one to two times per week. This tells me quite a bit. Strength training has indeed caught on among the endurance community, but since core work was the most popular form of strength training, this tells me most runners (in my non-scientific poll) don’t understand the relationship between strength and running.

Don’t get me wrong, I think core strength is important. Heck, any type of strength training is beneficial. Some strength is always better than none. But, to improve endurance performance the best type of strength training is maximal strength training. What?! Isn’t heavy lifting reserved for linebackers and body builders? Don’t runners do sit-ups and lift puny weights? It seems intuitive since endurance athletes don’t have (or necessarily need) really big muscles, right? Further, the nature of endurance sports incorporates long, slow, repetitive muscle contractions. It makes sense that runners should lift lighter weights with higher reps to build muscular endurance. Despite the popularity among runners, light lifting or core is not the most beneficial type of strength training. For the greatest benefits you should join the linebacker on the squat machine and try to bust out a couple reps.

Running strength training

The author swinging a kettlebell. All photos courtesy of Stephanie Howe.

Maximal Strength Training and Running Performance

So here’s the science lesson: endurance performance is a product of three physiologic variables: VO2MAX, lactate threshold, and economy. In fact, these three variables explain >70% of variation in endurance performance between individuals. Training can help improve VO2MAX, lactate threshold, and economy, which translates into greater fitness and improved performance. However, once aerobic capacity has been maximized, other variables, such as power, start to become increasingly important to further improve performance.

A study by Støren and colleagues (2008) investigated the influence of maximal strength training on running economy and time to exhaustion. Runners in this study completed four sets of four-repetition max of half-squats three times per week for eight weeks as a supplement to their normal training. The authors found that despite no changes in body weight or VO2MAX, the runners exhibited improved running economy and time to exhaustion (Støren et al., 2008). The results of this study suggest that strength training may improve endurance performance through improvements in neuromuscular characteristics rather than hypertrophy.

Another variable that contributes to endurance performance is running speed at VO2MAX.  Although maximum speed is related to VO2MAX and economy, it also incorporates anaerobic capacity and neuromuscular characteristics. When athletes are matched for aerobic capacity (VO2MAX), anaerobic power and neuromuscular characteristics contribute to endurance performance. Thus a highly trained athlete can further improve performance by maximizing strength and power.

A recent review by Rønnestad & Mujika (2013), found that concurrent endurance and heavy strength training increases speed at VO2MAX  (Vmax) or time to exhaustion at Vmax (Rønnestad & Mujika, 2013). In this review, the authors identify muscle fiber recruitment pattern as a potential mechanism for improved performance after combined strength and endurance training. Strength training increases the maximal strength of type I (slow twitch) muscle fibers delaying their time to fatigue, which in turn delays the activation of less economical type II fibers.

Another potential mechanism for improved performance is the conversion of type IIX (fast twitch) to type IIA (fatigue-resistant fast twitch) fibers. In a recent study examining a 16-week concurrent strength and endurance training on cyclists, the authors found an increase in type IIA fatigue-resistant fibers (Aagaard et al., 2011). A shift from type IIX to type IIA fibers improves endurance performance because type IIA fibers exhibit a high power output yet are more fatigue resistant than type IIX fibers. This leads to greater muscular efficiency and delayed fatigue in endurance performance.

And finally, improved musculo-tendinous stiffness has also been identified as potential mechanism for improved endurance performance in response to strength training. In running, the stretch-shortening cycle of the running stride can contribute to approximately half of the mechanical work performed during the eccentric phase. Thus, lower body musculoskeletal stiffness is associated with improved running economy. In a study by Foure and colleagues (2011), subjects participated in a 14-week plyometric training program to assess the impact on stiffness and jumping performance. The authors found an increase in joint stiffness after the training program, leading to enhanced elastic energy storage (Foure et al., 2011). In terms of endurance performance, explosive strength training increases lower body stiffness leading to improved utilization of the elastic energy and reducing the energy cost of running.

Taken together, these studies suggest that maximal or explosive strength training is most beneficial for runners. The addition of strength training to an endurance training program can further increase running economy and subsequent performance. This is especially true when all other physiological variables have been maximized through training. Despite the popularity of lower weight/high rep strength training among runners, the evidence points to greater performance benefits from maximal and explosive strength training.

Application

The challenge with results from scientific studies is actually applying them to real life. To learn more about how best to incorporate strength training, I interviewed Kyle Will, CSCS, RSCC, Head Coach of the Bend High Track & Field Team, Personal Trainer, and owner of Will Power Training Studio in Bend, Oregon. Will has years of experience working with endurance athletes of all ages from beginner up to elite. At his training studio, Will offers a ‘strength training for runners’ class designed to help improve endurance performance. Will’s class is not what you of when you hear ‘runners’ and ‘strength’ in the same sentence. Instead think explosive plyometrics and lifting weights for both the lower and upper body. Kyle also incorporates core exercises, but they are not the focus of the class.

According to Will, muscle or strength imbalance is an issue for most runners. Most have strong quadriceps and weak glutes, especially the gluteus medius. Strengthening the hip and gluteus muscles can help prevent overuse injuries, especially in the knee. Many runners don’t do strength training partly because they’d rather run if they have time for a workout. Sometimes running less and including strength training will benefit us more than fitting in the miles. Especially with age, running less and including strength training is even more important. Loss of lean muscle tissue occurs with age, and strength training is one way to help sustain a healthy body composition and prevent atrophy. Another reason runners often avoid strength training is the intimidation factor. Runners are generally weaker and aren’t always confident when lifting in a gym full of gym rats. For female runners, the stigma surrounding weight lifting is slightly different. Most females are afraid that if they lift weights they will get big or bulk up. Because of this, it’s much more difficult to get female runners to strength train.

Strength training for runners

How does strength differ between genders?

Both males and females benefit in similar ways from strength training. Historically, males tend to engage in more ‘strength-like’ activities than females. Even as young children, males tend to be more physically oriented and do more strength-based activities than females. Partly cultural norms and partly hormonal differences between genders, males tend to have more lean muscle mass than females. With that in mind, there are potentially greater benefits for females engaging in strength training than for males.

Besides a difference in overall muscle mass, females also tend to have a bigger discrepancy of quadriceps to hamstring strength. To combat this issue, Will advises focusing on hamstring strength and vastus medialis oblique (VMO) to strengthen the knee. The programming of strength specifically for women can be similar to males in terms of reps, sets, etc. The difference is that strength for women should target areas where women are anatomically different than men.

What types of exercises should a runner include?

Some of Will’s favorite strength exercises for runners include power cleans, kettle bell swings, and lifting heavy weights with low reps. Will also includes a lot of explosive exercises or plyometrics, such as box jumps. These types of exercises lead to neuromuscular adaptations within the muscles that in turn, improve running economy, and eventually performance. Many runners do lower body exercises, but do things like body weight lunges and step-ups. Although these types of exercise can help build some strength, they are not as effective as high weight/low rep or explosive exercises. Will also thinks core and upper body are important for endurance running. Core means more than just abdominal strength however. The core includes the hips to the shoulders, front to back, all the way around. Your core supports your structure and the small muscles, like the psoas or piriformis, are every bit as important as the big muscles.

Upper body is also often neglected by runners. I mean, it seems reasonable that big guns won’t really help running.

When is the best time to focus on strength?

For the best results, strength training should be included year round. Strength training should follow the same type of periodization as a normal training plan. In the off-season the focus should be on more weight and lower reps. Spend a good four months building strength during the off-season. Focus on addressing any weaknesses and lifting heavier weights. As a runner enters the pre-season, the focus should shift for more explosive body weight exercises, such as box jumps, medicine ball exercises, pushups, pull-ups, and abdominal exercises.

Stephanie Howe - box jump

The author beginning a box jump.

This routine should continue through the season, with lower volume as peak races are approaching. During the bulk of the season heavy weights should be avoided, as they place a high level of stress on the body. Save the really heavy stuff for the off-season. How often? Twice a week is good, except during peak competition time. Cut back to once a week when tapering, and skip strength the week of the race. Consistency is the most important however. If you can only commit to once per week it’s more beneficial than to go a couple times a week every once in awhile. Keep in mind though that all individuals are different and strength should be incorporated based on fitness and performance.  Some people will respond differently to additional strength training. Always listen to your body when changing your training. Too much of a good thing is not good.

What’s the best way to incorporate strength training?

The best way to keep up with strength training is to use a personal trainer or go to a class. It’s truly benefit to have someone guide you through a strength routine. Plus, it’s easier to stay committed if there is a social component. It’s best to get involved in some organized program. From personal experience, I can say I do better with consistent strength training when I join a group or go to a class. It’s something to keep me accountable, and I love my strength training buddies. I look forward to class each week to catch up with everyone and get my butt thoroughly kicked. :)

In summary, strength training is important—both for health and performance. The type of strength training you need depends on your goals as an athlete. For the recreational runner interested in general health and fitness, focusing on core and/or muscular endurance is sufficient. For a runner looking to enhance endurance performance, maximal strength training is most beneficial. The best way to improve strength is to be consistent with a routine. I’ve found it very helpful to train with a group or take a class; I’m less likely to do an hour of strength on my own compared to a class where I’m guided through all the exercises.

References

  • Aagaard P, Anderson JL, Bennekou M, Larsson B, Olesen JL, Crameri R, Magnusson SP, Kjaer M. Effects of resistance training on endurance capacity and muscle fiber composition in young top-level cyclists. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2011;21:e298-e307.
  • Barnes KR, McGuigan MR, Kilding AE. Lower Body Determinants of Running Economy in Male and Female Distance Runners. J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Oct 11. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Rønnestad BR, Mujika I. Optimizing strength training for running and cycling endurance performance: A review. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013 Aug 5. doi: 10.1111/sms.12104. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Støren Ø, Helgerud J, Støa EA, Hoff J. Maximal strength training improves running economy in distance runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008; 40(6):1087-92.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

Do you do strength training? If so, what’s in your routine and how do you think you benefit from it?

Stephanie Howe

, a coach and nutrition consultant at REP Lab in Bend, Oregon, started competing as a nordic skier and migrated to running in college. Stephanie now balances her schedule competing as an elite runner for The North Face, working at REP Lab and teaching at Oregon State University - Cascades in their Exercise Physiology program. You can learn more about Stephanie at REPoregon.com.

There are 43 comments

  1. autismson03

    I totally agree on the stength training recommendations. Weight lifting with a personal trainer, more specifically in a Bootcamp type group has helped my strength grow and thus my running has improved in many areas. I've been with my personal trainer for over 3 years and the consistency of various workouts and plyometrics has been a tremendous gain not only to my running but my overall body fat reduction & increase in muscle tone. Thank you for all the work in putting together this article. It was very informative & my hope is more runners will incorporate into their routine. Not just running makes a great runner, it's also the strength training, right nutrition, sleep, etc. Cheers!!!

  2. aswymore

    Very nice article, Stephanie. Nicely grounded in the literature. I am wondering what the citation is for the statement: "endurance performance is a product of three physiologic variables: VO2MAX, lactate threshold, and economy. In fact, these three variables explain >70% of variation in endurance performance between individuals." I am curious to how the authors performed this analysis. It sounds like a multiple regression which may indicate there is some other relevant information to extract from the analysis.

    Thanks,
    ~Adam

    1. StephanieHowe01

      Hi Adam- The reference is: Bassett DR, Howley ET. Limiting factors for maximum oxygen uptake and determinants of endurance performance. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2000; 32(1):70-84

      These three variables explain most of the variation in performance. However, there are many other variables and individual differences (lifestyle, training ethic, etc) that will also impact performance. I hesitate to give numbers, like 70%, because on in real life there are many other things that impact performance. In this particular reference, the authors reviewed current literature on variables related to endurance performance. It's a well written review- worth the read if you are interested in learning more!

  3. ryanknapp

    "The best way to keep up with strength training is to use a personal trainer or go to a class. It’s truly benefit to have someone guide you through a strength routine. "

    best advice in the article for ANYONE who is new to strength. Especially since I agree wtih heavy weight/low reps (for specific times) and squats, deadlifts, etc. So important to have someone watch your form and instruct you in the proper way to move.

    Great article.

  4. AtomLawrence

    Nice article, thanks! I used to lift quite a lot, and since switching to an all running, all the time approach, I've gotten faster but also had more nagging running pains. As far as I can tell, there's no reason for runners not to do a bit of strength training, other than laziness.

  5. amarr131

    I guess this doesn't really answer the question of exactly which exercises to use in a regimen, sets/reps, how to space out throughout a week of running. Otherwise, it was very informative.

    1. StephanieHowe01

      Hi,

      Strength prescription should be on an individual basis- there is not a "one size fits all" for regimine. I'd work with a trainer or start with slightly lower reps/weights and build up. The most important thing is correct technique, so you don't injure yourself.

  6. @sylvainbauge

    Great article, Stef! Jay Dicharry believes that you can still lift heavy weights up to 3 days days before a big competition if you're a endurance athlete. That's what he had Linsey Corbin do before the Ironman World championships. She placed 10th.

    1. StephanieHowe01

      Yes, I work with Jay Dicharry and am quite a believer in what he recommends! I like to lower my strength volume leading into a big race (which I believe Jay prescribes as well) to prevent any soreness and make sure I'm fully recovered going into a big race. Some strength the week before? Sure. I wouldn't do my normal strength routine though because I do get fairly sore and it doesn't make sense to go into an "A" race not firing on all cylinders :)

  7. Jonny_Hunter

    Thanks very much for this postThanks very much for this post, Stephanie – as a guy who started as a runner and then joined the military, I've had to adjust my training schedule to incorporate a lot more strength work than I used to, and I think, on the whole, I'm a better runner now as a result.

    Just a few things which, in my experience, I have found. Firstly, strength work has caused me to put on a lot of weight, around 10kg (approx. 15% of my mass, as my body fat % has stayed approximately the same), which has made things like ascents and descents when racing that little bit more arduous. Nothing that more running won't cure, but it has put noticeably more strain on my joints and energy stores, particularly when racing.

    This leads to my second point – I have to eat SO MUCH now! Just a small mass gain has meant that I've had to give serious thought to my race and training nutrition programmes, and be really careful about what I eat during races in order to give me enough calories.

    My final thought, which has been touched upon in this article, is how good body-weight exercises are for you as a form of strength training, as they tend to place less strain on the body. It's also a really good way for those who are a little intimidated by a gym environment to get involved, as a 60kg runner is going to have a much easier time doing pistol squats than someone double their weight!

    Hope this is helpful to someone!

    1. nrkuhl

      My understanding is that if you truly do only low-rep/maximal weight work, you won't gain any weight. I've read that from a number of sources (including this article) and my guess is that if you'e gained weight with lots of strength work, you're actually doing a lot of medium weight/high rep training.

      I totally agree that you can also get pretty burly doing pure bodyweight work, and if you think about it, doing pistol squats are essentially equivalent to squatting bodyweight. Pure bodyweight work also generally won't cause you to gain bulk, at least in my experience, but it probably also doesn't have the same effect as maximal effort/low rep weight.

      I'm a climber as well as a runner, and I use a pretty solid body-weight routine a couple days a week to help keep all the antagonists balanced, and I think it's a pretty effective general conditioning routine (happy to hear constructive commentary).

      Using a timer that chimes on the minute:
      1x minute of Hindu Squats
      1x minute rest
      1x minute Hindu Push-ups
      1x minute rest
      repeat for 15 minutes
      Rest 1 minute
      Follow with timer set for 30s
      30s V-ups
      30s rest
      Repeat for 5 minutes

      This is both preceded and followed with yoga for warm-up and cool down.

      Also, re:food – I find running makes me eat a ton. More so than any other training I've ever done, to the point that I get tired of eating, which is so unfortunate.

      Oh, and sometimes I substitute minutes of Hindu squats for minutes of Pistol squats.

    2. StephanieHowe01

      Hi Johnny,

      Thanks for your comment. As for weight gain- normally when runners do strength training "bulking up" is not an issue. Sure muscles will hypertrophy a bit, but normally not much since running is such a catabolic activity. If you do gain weight, maintaining a constant % BF is what you are aiming to achieve- meaning all the weight you put on was from muscle. As a longer distance runner, the extra weight may actually be beneficial. Just based on my personal experiences, I always feel like I have more stamina when I have a little more muscle. I think it truly helps for long trail races!

      As far as eating much more- if your energy expenditure is increased and you have more muscle mass (which requires more energy) then you will need to up your energy intake. I'm not sure what eating "SO MUCH" means, but usually a few extra hundred calories are needed. I wouldn't be too upset about this- that probably makes a lot of people jealous. You do need to be conscious about eating enough, but you also have much more wiggle room for discretionary calories, like deserts for example. Enjoy it!

      Body weight exercises are great, but it terms of maximal strength gains and improving endurance performance they are not as effective. Like I mentioned, any strength training is good and definitely some body weight exercises will be beneficials. But, if you are interested in strength training for the greatest performance gains, then maximal strength and plyometrics will be your best bet.

  8. WriteJohnWrite

    I'm currently in PT for runner's knee, having sacrificed strength training and stretching to the mileage gods in the lead-up to a long race, while training only on unvaried terrain of New York City, such that the tendons on my dominant leg have shortened and the muscles around my knee have weakened, allowing my knee migrate (or get pulled) laterally from it's normal, healthy position. The solution? The jury's still out–I'm on wk. 4 of 18–but my doc has me stretching hamstrings, quads, butt, and tendons, while strengthening the muscles around my knee, especially the VMO. Doing more dynamic workouts and maintaining some level of generalized strength does seem to matter…

    1. TDawgNight

      Same exact thing happened to me. I did all upper body workouts but figured running a ton of miles would take care of my lower body. Huge mistake. Be patient, because it can take a good amount of time until you're right again. Good luck.

  9. dana_d

    This was so informative! I needed to read this–I fall into the category of female runners who are afraid to bulk up, so it was nice to read how much women can benefit from this type of training!

  10. @SnowyScott

    Any person male or female who says they are "afraid of bulking up" clearly has never even attempted to "bulk up" let alone lifted weights. If it was so easy to bulk up that all you had to do was lift weights..a lot of people spending a great deal of time in the gym …wouldn't be spending so much time in the gym…TRYING to bulk up. It's just not that easy and to think otherwise is flat out ignorance.

    1. Bryon of iRunFar

      Well, I did out grow all my jeans in less than two months when I switched distance runner (no leg lifting) to sprinter (leg lifting) in college. :-)

      While I'm sure I couldn't put on muscle like that 15+ years later, some folks are more prone to bulk up. It's (one small reason) why I don't lift at this point in my life. It is on my radar to reconsider in another 10 or 15 years.

      1. @SnowyScott

        That sounds like the result of heavy weight low rep training for explosive/sprinting. Which for men can do that to your legs. Especially given that heavy leg training boosts our testosterone and Human Growth Hormone production. Lighter weights more reps, less rest between sets and you should experience strength gain without so much size gain. Thanks for bantering with me Bryon

  11. @SnowyScott

    I am honestly flabbergasted that weight training is so avoided by people engaging in endurance sports like Ultrarunning. It's as if they seriously think they can perform without muscle and all the protective/supportive/enhancing benefits it provides. It's like the guy that lifts weights but never does legs. How can you completely avoid training an entire half of your body and still be surprised when you experience knee pain, back pain, ankle pain,etc. Do you all not realize your body is 1 system that works in a cohesive unit? So if you are weak anywhere that weakness effects wherever you are "strong"?…. Sorry for the derogatory tone but I just don't get how ..in 2014…this information is still surprising to people.

    1. Bryon of iRunFar

      I think it's partially because the vast majority of ultrarunners run…. because they like to run. I, and many others, could be "better" runners by engaging in any of myriad alternate activities, but, in the end it's about the running not about absolutely maximizing potential.

      There's a secondary consideration on the time front. Many of us only have (whether through external or self-imposed limitations) a very small amount of time weekly to train. If someone's got seven hour or ten hours a week dedicated to running and running-related activities, that only reinforces the sentiment in the first paragraph.

      I think the above is why so many endurance athletes "avoid" lifting.

      1. @SnowyScott

        A lifting workout when done right should take no more than 40-50 minutes. When you are spending 7-10 hours a week doing running….a running-related activity should be weight bearing exercise. To argue it's a time issue in this context seems….ironic

        1. @SnowyScott

          Especially given the vast benefits of weight bearing exercise. Especially since weight bearing exercise gives benefits that are nearly impossible to get from any other type of exercise, namely increasing bone density. For an endurance athlete or any athlete for that matter, skeletal health should be a priority. Factor in the data showing how much more effective weight training is at raising metabolic levels and reducing adipose tissue while improving efficiency of lean muscle mass and it's obviously hyper-beneficial when compared to stationary bikes/treadmills/elliptical/swimming/etc.

          I am honestly digging for a real reason because I do strength and condition coaching and I've never met a community more resistant to lifting weights than ultra/distance-runners and I would really like to figure out what it is about a runners mindset that has them avoiding lifting like it's bad for them.

          1. @jhnnyk

            I'm with Bryon, if I have 40-50 minutes to do whatever I want, am I staying inside and going to the gym? Hell no! I'm headed out for some fresh air, dirt under foot, flying down the trail. Would I benefit from weights? Yes, I'm sure. But if I have free time, I'm spending it outside rejuvenating my spirit.

            Perhaps to you it's all training, but to us, running is savoring and enjoying life. That's where we want to be. The gym doesn't really hold the same appeal. If I were pro or something, yea, I'd find the time, but that's not really where I'm at.

        2. @przem3k

          Hi all
          I agree with SnowyScott. i started doing gym strength workouts along with running 7 years ago(37 male), benefits are unquestionable: more stamina power when doing hillreps and long reps on flat etc. Yes i eat more during ultras I do not worry about bulking up i am not professional runner (father of 3).I train with a running club and got advice from ex pro and current top marathon and sprinters on this as well.
          regards from UK!

  12. _hs_

    Excellent article. I was especially intrigued with this part: "lower body musculoskeletal stiffness is associated with improved running economy" and since no one else isn't bringing it up, I thought I must. Being neither a sports scientist nor a native English speaker I might be totally off, but to me this would seem to suggest that increasing flexibility (e.g. by stretching) is bad for running economy. This seems to be what some recent sports studies are also saying now and I have been wondering if that is actually true and if weight training is actually increasing stiffness in running muscles? And if so, would this be considered a good thing?

    1. StephanieHowe01

      That is a tricky concept. Yes, stiffness is good, but what this is referring to is not really stiff, tight muscles. There are some studies that have shown that too much flexibility can lower running economy, because extra energy is spent to stabilize the body. BUT, and this is a big but- being too stiff can make a runner more prone to injury. I don't think this should be taken out of context as "Being stiff will make me a better runner". There is a fine line, and unless you are in flopping into the center splits in your yoga class, stretching is beneficial. The way I look at it is that I'll always be a faster runner when I'm healthy and injury free!

    2. FernandoNBaeza

      HS,

      Unfortunately, for me anyhow, stretching has been some what of a hindrance. When I stretch before or during a break on a long run, my running economy is definitely worsened. But then again, I don't stretch hardly ever. Recently during a long, slow run…I stopped for a short restroom break. During this time, two runners running with me were stretching and convinced me to stretch a little. Needless to say, I barely made it back to my car after the stretching with 10 more miles to go. I knew it was the stretching as I don't feel stiffness in my hamstrings during my runs, even on long, hilly runs. For some people stretching may help, in my case, its a hindrance. :(
      San Antonio, TX

  13. @hoyawolf

    This is definitely one of the best articles I've come across on the benefits of strength training. I can attest that the principles here are directly related to gains in running. I was never serious about weight training until about five years ago, I lifted before that but not focused. I spent an off season working hard on my core and lower back/glutes. When the spring trail running series came around I went from finishing 4-5 in my age group to 1-3 and winning the series overall. This past season I have changed again and started a full body strength training plan focused on power/overall strength. Deadlifts, squats, cleans, kettlebell swings, etc. In nine months I have lost 10 pounds – from 153 to 143 and am stronger/faster than I have been in quite sometime. I am 5'10" so it is not like I have ever been a "big" runner. My question is what should the transition/racing season look like? The same types of lifts? Deadlifts, etc. I am finding that as my weekly mileages climbs through the 40-50 mile range the heavy workouts leave me tired when you add in my crosstraining of rowing as well. I am going to reduce down like any periodization but curious on what sort of weight/max/effort percentages we should maintain through the "performance" phase to maintain enough strength so that when we go back into base phase it is not starting over.

  14. handy1912

    Does anyone know of any evidence to show that if you spent the same amount of time running as you spend in the gym you would not improve as much?

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  18. Bob Gilmore

    The photo of Stephanie performing a deadlift has me concerned for the long-term health of her lower back. Deadlifts require a neutral spine to be safe for the spine, especially when going heavy. The photo shows the spine in a flexed position that is loading the lower back instead of the hips. People with long legs generally have a difficult time lifting heavy things from the floor while maintaining good posture. You appear to fall into that category, at least in the photo provided. While I agree that a lot of runners would benefit from some real strength training, long-legged, thin-boned, and somewhat inflexible people that tend to excel at running have a difficult time performing traditional strength exercises like squats and deadlifts safely and effectively. Learning good technique and safer alternatives from a qualified professional is good advice. As an avid trail runner, professional trainer, and therapist, I would love to see an article giving more in-depth practical strength training advice that addresses the mechanical realities that runners face trying to get stronger. I would be willing to write one if irunfar is interested. I promise to make it an engaging read for the trail running crowd, if you don’t mind getting contributions from a Canadian!

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