The goal here is to get you a stronger running body. You won’t look like Arnold, trust me. So, here we go:

1

LIFT YEAR-ROUND, BUT BACK OFF DURING RACING SEASON

Build your aerobic base during the fall season and focus on building maximal strength at other times of the year. It’s more important that you focus on building a solid foundation of strength and movement proficiency with the major lifts (more on that in the next point) than anything else. Simply dial back the strength-training frequency during racing season to ensure you don’t cut into the recovery and performance of your running training.

Just as you would continue to run to keep from getting rusty, you would keep lifting weights to ensure that the body stays strong throughout the year. Alas, a break of just a couple of weeks from heavy stimuli can be enough to signal your body to start shedding strength.

2

CHOOSE FUNCTIONALLY SUPERIOR EXERCISES

Not all exercises are created equal. The strength and neuromuscular improvements from exercises like squat and deadlift variations will definitely offer far more carryover to running than isolation curls. I recommend checking the Bodybuilding.com Exercise Database or having a certified strength and conditioning coach instruct you on proper and safe lifting techniques for these exercises.

Single-leg variations, like single-leg split squats, single-leg deadlifts, and lunge variations are also important for the development of dynamic stability, which is important for increasing running economy.

THE STRENGTH AND NEUROMUSCULAR IMPROVEMENTS FROM EXERCISES LIKE SQUAT AND DEADLIFT VARIATIONS WILL DEFINITELY OFFER FAR MORE CARRYOVER TO RUNNING THAN ISOLATION CURLS.

3

TRAIN WITHIN A SPECTRUM OF SETS AND REPETITIONS

Exercise repetitions (aka reps) refer to the number of times you perform the same exercise one after another, and sets refer to how many total times you perform those repetitions in distinct groups, as in “3 sets of 10 reps.” There are ideal rep and set ranges for different effects on muscle, but for our purposes, focus on lifting weights that challenge you in the 5-reps-or-less range.

That means you should choose a weight that makes you feel like your muscles are on fire by the fifth rep. This 5-rep range works best for squats and deadlifts. For single-leg variations, focus on the 8-12-rep range.

For core stabilization exercises, focus on timed sets lasting 30-60 seconds.

4

LIFT WEIGHTS WITH A BALLISTIC INTENT

In other words, you need to move the weight as quickly as possible with your best form and technique possible, regardless of weight. Sometimes the weight will move slowly, but your “ballistic intent” will preferentially recruit your fast-twitch muscle fibers. Doing this will help with power generation for times when you need to really push off in the last mile.

5

JUMP, HOP, AND SKIP

Frog jumps, jump squats, bounding, quick high-knees—these are all forms of explosive bodyweight training called plyometric training. Plyometrics can improve the stretch-shortening cycle of your lower limbs by making joints, tendons, and muscle less stiff. (Don’t worry, stiffness isn’t a bad thing.)

When your foot lands with each running stride, your tendons and muscles store elastic energy, which can be utilized for the subsequent push off the ground. The better you utilize this energy, the better your running economy becomes.

JUMP SQUATS

SAMPLE RUNNER’S WORKOUT

This sample workout can be performed once a week, preferably not on the same day as a running workout. Focus on proper exercise form to ensure exercise effectiveness and gym safety. As a side note, a movement screen and analysis of your running gait are also recommended to ensure that your joints are moving properly when lifting and running.

SAMPLE RUNNER’S WORKOUT
TRI-SET
A

24″ BOX JUMP

3 sets of 8-10 reps (minimal rest)

box jump box jump

SLOW MOUNTAIN-CLIMBER PLANK

3 sets of 10-15 reps per leg (minimal rest)

Slow mountain-climber plank Slow mountain-climber plank

KNEELING HIP-FLEXOR STRETCH

3 sets of 8 5-sec. holds (60 sec. rest)

Kneeling hip-flexor stretch Kneeling hip-flexor stretch

TRI-SET
B

CONVENTIONAL DEADLIFT

3-5 sets working to a peak set of 5 reps (1-2 min. rest)

Conventional deadlift Conventional deadlift

SINGLE ARM CABLE CHEST PRESS

3 sets of 8-12 reps per arm (30-60 sec. rest)

Single arm cable chest press Single arm cable chest press

HIP BRIDGE

3 sets of 20 reps (60 sec. rest)

Hip bridge Hip bridge

TRI-SET
C

REAR FOOT ELEVATED SPLIT SQUAT

3 sets working to a peak set of 5 reps (1-2 min. rest)

Rear foot elevated split squat Rear foot elevated split squat

SINGLE-ARM CABLE ROW

3 sets of 8-12 reps per arm (30-60 sec. rest)

Single-arm cable row Single-arm cable row

X-BAND WALK

3 sets of 10 steps left and right (60 sec. rest)

X-band walk X-band walk

REFERENCES
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