Runners often have trouble balancing their running and strength training, especially as mileage increases. The biggest thing to realize is that as one increases the other can typically take a step back. However, it’s rare that either stops altogether. That’s the beauty of understanding periodization which will allow you to prioritize your running but also respect the impact strength training can provide in the “offseason” months.
Now, I know what you are thinking… What is the “offseason” when it comes to running?
Running is a year round sport as it can and should be. While following a periodized program, the “in-season” phase provides a gradual build up in volume for the designated goal race. When the goal race is completed, it’s time to switch your focus to ensure your body is recovering properly, run at a lower mileage to maintain a suitable base, and incorporate a structured strength training program to introduce variability, build strength, stability, & power, and address any aches and pains. This formula will reduce the likelihood of injury and maximize long-term performance in a sport where up to 75% of runners get injured each and every year.
Although it’s easy to conceptualize that your running plan will increase, decrease, and vary depending on your goals, time until goal race, and many other factors… runners regularly overlook these same principles when it comes to strength training. In fact, the majority of runners complete the same exercises without much variation regardless of the time of year. This does a disservice to your running!
As you are actively training for your goal race, a reduction in strength training volume and intensity is needed to prioritize your running without creating an overtraining stimulus. However, when your goal race is completed and running volume backs down, this is the best time to increase the intensity and volume of your strength training program. That doesn’t always mean different exercises altogether but how these exercises are executed.
In the following video, I discuss simple ways to add more intensity to your strength training program. This will include…
- Increasing the resistance
- Incorporating tempo
- Adding a plyometric component
These three tactics will be discussed with reference to the squat and split squat exercises so you can see them performed during common strength movements for runners. In the end, the number of exercises which can be incorporated in this manner are endless but hopefully it opens your eyes to the small changes which can produce huge results.
Thank you for reading this article and watching the video on how to increase the intensity of your strength training program. Please remember that it’s important to respect your running first and foremost, but recognize those key times throughout the year where you can build a stronger and more resilient foundation to boost performance and reduce the injury risk associated with running.
To receive a 100% individualize strength training & injury reduction program that fits seamlessly alongside your running, click here to learn more about the Healthy Running Program.
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART