Make Pushing Weights Way Less Intimidating
Runner's World SA|May/June 2020
Make Pushing Weights Way Less Intimidating
WEIGHT TRAINING can seem counterintuitive to runners: the more muscle you have, the heavier you are, and thus the more weight you have to carry around when running.

While that’s technically true, it doesn’t mean you should swear off the weights room altogether. In fact, adding weight training to your routine, even just once or twice per week, is essential for efficient running.

“Strength work accomplishes three big goals for runners,” says Jason Fitzgerald, a certified running coach and the founder of Strength Running. “It prevents injuries by strengthening muscles and connective tissues; it helps you run faster by improving neuromuscular coordination and power, and it improves running economy by encouraging coordination and stride efficiency.”

That all sounds ideal, but it doesn’t make the gym any less intimidating. To ease your fears, try changing your view on why you’re weight training and what it can do for you. Here’s how.

Train for Strength, Not Gains

As a runner, train for strength and power, not to bulk up with massive muscles. “A runner doesn’t need to be overly strong – what they need is not to be weak, which is a key difference,” says Joe Holder, a certified running coach, and Nike+ Run Club coach. “Just think of strength training as ‘structural insurance’.” Weight training will help you build the proper foundation you need for improved running performance.

Besides, if you’re running a fair amount of weekly mileage, the chances that you’d achieve a large increase in muscle mass are pretty low. “The stimulus to put on muscle that won’t be beneficial for running is much higher than people realize. Unless you’re lifting relatively heavy and frequently, and/ or eating a hyper-caloric diet, you’re unlikely to put on muscle,” says Holder.


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May/June 2020