When I ask people about their workouts, I often hear “Oh I run to strengthen my legs”, and it makes me cringe. Nothing is wrong with running; you just are not maximizing your results if that is all you do. Here are the top 5 reasons why runners should do resistance training:
- Strength training will help with any muscle imbalances that may make you more prone to injury due to dysfunctional movement patterns. A common weak muscle in the quad is the vastus medialus obliquus, this can lead to knee pain when running. Also, weak calf muscles may lead to shin pain. Resistance training should be done in multiple planes of motion so that muscle imbalances decrease or disappear. Strength training also stimulates protein synthesis in not only your muscles, but the surrounding connective tissues as well, helping make a joint stronger and more stable. In addition, strength training helps build bone strength. With all of these training adaptations, chronic aches and pains will be less or go away.
- Resistance training makes your muscles more sensitive to insulin than running or aerobic exercise does. Runners often consume more carbohydrates than most people, so it is important to strength train to keep up your insulin health. Nobody wants diabetes.
- Because of #2, your metabolism goes up and you will process carbohydrates better, burning more fats than carbohydrates. This will help you have a better body composition, having more muscle and less fat.
- Running increases oxidative stress in your body, promoting inflammation. Inflammation makes losing weight harder. Strength training has been shown to counteract oxidative stress as well as supplementation with products like Juice Plus.
- Perhaps one of the more obvious benefits of strength training is that you will get faster because you are stronger! If you are stronger, you will use less effort to move your body. You will then use less energy and should be able to run longer.