Weight Training for Runners

I have been getting all kinds of answers about weight training while running. Also because of time I do my short runs and then go the gym and do core work, and the rest of the days do my 10k runs.

I have never had any problems with my exercise training.

I know I have answered my own question but I would like to hear your thoughts on running and weight training.

Answer by Dominique:

weight training for runners

Hi there,
Thanks for your question about weight training for runners.

When I was in my 20s and 30s, I more or less dismissed weight training. Well, not entirely, I would have told you back then that you can do weight training if you wish. It is an "accepted" form of cross training.

But, I wouldn't have thought that it would help your running. However, over time you get wiser and over time your body becomes a bit more fragile....

I now consider weight training to be an absolute necessity!

I strength train two or three times per week. My routine is probably 50% legs, 25% core, 25% upper body. So whole body, with a focus on legs.

Why Should Runners Lift Weights?

It helps develop a stronger core and stronger legs, which helps reduce running injury risk.

It can help address imbalances in the body, again reducing injury risk.

The extra strength will make every stride just that little bit more powerful, making you a faster runner.

It makes you look better!

And even though the effect on your running performance will likely not be that easily demonstrated, less injuries and stronger legs translate into better performances.

Why Do Some People Oppose Weight Training for Runners

weight training for runners
The reason some people oppose to weight training is the specificity principle. This principle says that to get better at running, you need to run. Not do something else.

The principle does have some validity but is probably only really fully true for the super elites.

The specificity principle is not true for completely untrained individuals. E.g. take a sedentary person who can't run a mile at the moment. Then let them do weight training, bike riding, swimming etc. Everything but running. As this person gets fitter, his/her running performance will improve, despite the fact that this person never runs!

For us, people somewhere in between elites and the completely untrained individual, there are good reasons to do weights, as explained before.

What Type of Weight Lifting Should Runners Do

I would recommend focusing on strength. You do this by reducing the number of repetitions to 5-8 and lifting heavier weights. In combination with running you will not bulk up. You'll turn into a lean, mean running machine!

I think you are being very wise to include some cross-training in your exercise regime and I would recommend you just continue what you do!

Hope this helps.
Kind regards,

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