If you follow the blog, you know that I am not fond of long distance running; first because not the best way to be in shape (running is inefficient to lose weight), second because does not help develop the qualities associated with being fit (except cardiovascular resistance) and third because most people’s routines (treadmill, running on asphalt, going around a park) seem to me very boring.
However, curiously, there are many people who follow the blog and are ‘hooked’ on running, that beyond the factor of well-being associated with the release of endorphins (as with any other physical activity), is due to the attractiveness of fighting against oneself, to personal improvement, which I absolutely respect. If you are in this group, If you like running, keep doing it anyway, but I recommend that you mix it with activities that enhance other elements of what it means to be fit (strength, power, coordination …).
And if I have to prioritize, I recommend put emphasis on strength; In general I think that it is the basis of everything, and in particular I believe that it is key for the runners.
A study from the journal Runner’s world reveals that more than 60% of regular runners have suffered an injury of a certain size. This is not surprising, since it is logical that when repeating a movement thousands of times, in the same way, wear is generated. If to that you add that most of the runners have weak bodies (a strong heart, but weak bodies), such a high injury rate is not surprising.
Some time ago I spoke of an important factor to reduce injuries when running, And it is doing the opposite of what ‘the industry’ says. You may have heard that when you start running it is essential to buy some ‘good’ (that is, expensive) shoes. And I recommend ‘ditching your running shoes’, since all they do is spoil your running (landing on your heel) and weaken your feet. Y a weak body is the main source of injuries.
There are studies (this or this one for example) that show that working your strength not only reduces your chances of injury, but improves your performanceespecially when it comes to extra effort, such as a final sprint to the finish line!
You know that I always recommend compound exercises, exercising ‘movements’, rather than individual muscles, and this is especially important in the case of runners.
- Do squats and deadlifts to strengthen the muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons of your legs and your hips. Strong legs and good running posture are the keys to avoiding injury.
- Strengthen your ‘core or core’ (abs and lumbar) with these exercises; your core supports your body during the race, and must be strong to keep it upright and avoid imbalances, especially in states of exhaustion.
- Do upper body exercises (such as push-ups and chin-ups), to avoid loss of body mass, a problem if you are used to running marathons or the like. The cortisol released during these runs and the associated energy needs can leave you with a haggard body (especially from the waist up).
- Sprint once in a while, first so that your legs get used to moving in a different way, and second because it has a very different effect on your body. Sprinting, at full capacity for seconds (for example by making tobacco), causes you to release testosterone and growth hormone, which is what helps you build muscle. Compare the bodies of a 100 meter runner and a long distance runner, they are very different!
- If you run 3-4 days a week, train your strength the rest of the days, 30 minutes is enough. If you have access to a gym, I recommend reading this, if not, you can train at home with body exercises.
- If you are one of the fans who runs every day, I recommend that you stop doing it :). If you don’t want to listen to me, I suppose at least some days your training will be lighter. At the end of those more moderate workouts, do 15-20 minutes of body exercises. It’s a great way to end your workout, and your body will thank you for it.