A common myth among runners is that weight lifting can negatively affect performance and increase fatigue. However, this could not be further from the truth. Many runners believe that running alone will build muscle, and, while this is true to some extent, excess running can actually lead to muscle atrophy.
Heavy weight lifting, such as dead-lifts, front squats, back squats, etc., strengthen the legs, allowing for more power and speed while running. Stronger legs will also be less susceptible to fatigue, as they will become accustomed to working harder.
Besides enhancing performance while running, weight lifting is a wonderful workout for the whole body. Most lifts work a variety of different muscle groups, leading to a faster metabolism, overall higher fitness level, and positive changes in physique. Some runners think that lifting weights will make them bulkier and change their bodies in a way that may inhibit running performance. However, a good weight lifting program consists of 3-4 sessions per week, which is not enough to drastically increase muscle mass.
Many coaches worry about their runners injuring themselves while weight lifting. While this is a valid concern, the positives that come with strength training far outweigh the negatives. It is crucial, however, that runners learn how to properly and safely execute the lifts. It would be worthwhile for coaches to hire a professional to train their athletes, or, for non-competitive runners, joining a Crossfit or other type of strength training class is a good idea. It’s necessary to feel completely comfortable when lifting heavy.
If tempo runs and fartleks are no longer enhancing running performance, it may be time to change things up. Heavy weight lifting is essential for strengthening the entire body, which will lead to faster, stronger, and more powerful running.
By Fixt Blogger, Emma Steiner
running.competitor.com (Heavy Lifting for Better Runners)
running.competitor.com (Should Distance Runners Lift Heavy?)