If you’re like most runners, you’ve probably been lead to believe that any strength training for runners should focus on lifting light weights. You’ve also probably also heard that runners should also do a high number of repetitions so they don’t build too much muscle bulk. Other runners have been told that the light resistance and high reps weight training program will help improve their running endurance.
Welcome to Run Training MYTH #1 – The Light Weight and High Reps Myth
You’ll be surprised that the running research actually shows that runners that lift heavier weights at a lower number of repetitions show the best results in the running research. The British Journal of Sports Medicine recently published this infographic by James Alexander that explains how the heavier weights and lower rep strength training for runners has the best benefits.
Strength Training for Runners – Myth #1
You can see the whole infographic at the La Trobe University website.
Runners that lifted heavy weights twice a week had faster 5km times as well as improved running economy 1
And if you’re looking to decrease your running injury risk, then once again, the research shows that runners going heavy with the weights will have less injuries as well 2
Should you lift weights while training for a race?
Apparently so. One researcher found that runners that stopped a weight training program while also run training found that their running times actually got slower and their 5 km times went back to their pre-weight training levels! 3
So stay away from those 2 pound dumbbells in the gym and the 20 to 30 rep sets that you see some running coaches and running magazines and don’t be afraid to lift heavy.
And keep with the strength training program thru your running season, and you should notice some improvement.
If you’re a runner that’s new to any type of strength training, its important to focus on proper form first and then work on increasing the weight that you lift. You can read more about some of our favorite strength exercises for runners here.Research