october 18, 2014
By Coach Eladio Valdez III
Who would think that an article for runners would focus on the importance of getting stronger?
Well, let me ask you a question.
Why is it that strength training and drills are an important component of all other sports except for running, even though running comprises the highest amount of repetitions?
Think about it, the average person takes 700 single leg ‘lunges/squats’ on their right leg and 700 single leg ‘lunges/squats’ on their left leg per mile! While running itself does improve strength to some extent, a greater emphasis on improving your body frame strength to withstand the pounding from running will go a long way to reducing the risk of injury. And boy, do runners get injured – up to 80% in a given year!
A stronger body will also improve your speed and ability to handle hills. This is because stronger muscles waste less energy for a given pace since it is now easier for them to propel the body forward. For a given effort, without even trying harder, you’ll end up going faster. So, by investing some of your ‘running time’ towards getting stronger, you’ll lower your risk of injury while becoming faster – not a bad tradeoff, won’t you agree?
The great news is that even those who have no desire to mess with speed and just want to enjoy running can benefit from simple strength and balance exercises if they want to avoid forced layoffs due to injury. I recommend making an appointment with a physical therapist or health professional knowledgeable about running biomechanics to figure out your weak areas and proactively prehab (or rehab if you’re currently injured) them with a specific exercise routine.
Or, you may want to consider a runner specific strength class like the one I teach in which we address the common areas that all runners need to work on. For more info, click on this link (http://www.runnersedgekc.com/programs.asp). I will also address some practical and fun ways to include these types of things into your training in a clinic that is free and open to the public. It will be held February 27 at 6:30pm at the 119th & Quivira Garry Gribble’s Running Sports store. Please RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.
I hope you take this message to heart and start incorporating things like clams, side leg raises, bridges, planks, squats and lunges. Your body will thank you with fewer injuries and faster running!