Most races aren’t a contest to see who can run the furthest they are a contest to see who can run the distance the fastest. Strength training increases the speed that you run.
In order to run faster you need to produce more power with each step. If every stride is more powerful the stride length will be longer. The mistake people make is that strength training will produce big, bulky muscles that will be detrimental to a runner’s performance.
In reality strength training can be used to reduce muscular size (if required), produce more power, increase duration, increase efficiency and reduce injury. The legacy that the bodybuilding-centric fitness industry left during the 80’s and 90’s was a damaging one to say the least.
I was lucky enough to attend a speed agility and plyometrics course run by the UK strength and conditioning Association when Jon Goodwin was one of the tutors delivering the course. He said something that made perfect sense (recalling this from a few years ago); “all of our elite level runners are lifting heavy weights in the strength and conditioning room at least twice a week for one simple reason, a stronger muscle can contract more times than a weaker one.”
The basis of human movement is strength, runners and running coaches would be wise to cash in on such a simple way to improve their times.
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