Weight lifting is an essential component of any marathon training regimen. Running alone does not achieve a complete workout and excessive running without the proper support form a strength and conditioning programme, adequate rest and good nutrition can lead to injury.
Long distance runners can enhance their endurance, prevent injury, improve their speed and build their muscle mass by incorporating weight lifting into their training routine.
Why weight lifting is important for marathon runners
The main benefit of weight training for long distance runners is a reduced likelihood of injury. However resistance and S&C programmes have also been shown to improve speed and overall endurance of running athletes.
By lifting weights, runners can improve their running form and increase their efficiency, which can lead to better performance and faster times.
How weight lifting helps to prevent injury
Weight lifting can also help to prevent common running injuries. It strengthens the muscles that support the joints and bones, which can reduce the risk of injury. By incorporating exercises that target specific muscle groups, runners can prevent injuries to the knees, ankles, hips, and back.
Your personal trainer can take you through a range of exercises that are beneficial for runners. This is really important as most new runners don’t think about the strength and conditioning element and either run too far or too fast at the start of their training. This often leads to injuries that could be avoided with a proper training programme.
Common running injuries can include:
IT band syndrome (also known as Runners knee)
IT band syndrome is a condition that causes pain on the outside of the knee. It is often caused by a lack of strength and conditioning in the hips, glutes, and quad.
Anterior knee pain (also known as patellofemoral joint pain)
Runner's knee is a term used to describe several different conditions that cause pain around the kneecap. It is often caused by a lack of strength and conditioning in the hips, glutes, and quads.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain in the heel and the bottom of the foot. It is often caused by overuse or by running too much or too fast too early in a program.
Shin splints (also known as medial tibial stress syndrome - MTSS).
Shin splints is an umbrella term used to describe pain on the inside of your shin bone (tibia). They are often caused by overuse or by running too much or too fast too early in a program.
By incorporating weight lifting into a training program, runners can prevent these common injuries. Weight lifting can help to strengthen the muscles that support the joints and bones, which can reduce the risk of injury. For example, exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts can strengthen the glutes and quads, which can help to prevent runner's knee and IT band syndrome. Exercises like calf (heel) raises can strengthen the calf muscles, which can help to prevent many common running injuries, such as plantar fasciitis and shin splints.
In addition to weight lifting, runners should also incorporate stretching and foam rolling into their training program. These activities can help to improve flexibility and mobility, which can also reduce the risk of injury. By combining strength training, stretching and foam rolling, runners can create a well-rounded training program that prepares them for the physical demands of a marathon.
How to incorporate weight lifting into marathon training
The ideal frequency and timing of weight lifting sessions
It is recommended to weight lift 2-3 times per week, with at least one day of rest in between sessions. It is important to time weight lifting sessions appropriately, such as scheduling them on days when running is not as intense.
For example, don't schedule your big leg day right before your longest run of the week. Speak to your trainer to plan an appropriate training schedule.
Tips on how to choose the right exercises
Runners should focus on exercises that target specific muscle groups, such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, and calf raises. It is also important to include exercises that improve core strength and balance, such as planks and single-leg exercises.
One of Revolution’s favorites is the squat and row. A great exercise for improving core and knee strength as well as improving overall stability.
Weight lifting is crucial for marathon runners, as it improves endurance, prevents injury, and increases strength and muscle mass. By incorporating weight lifting into their training program, runners can improve their overall performance.
To successfully train for a marathon, runners should focus on both running and weight lifting as well as mobility and proper rest. It is important to schedule weight lifting sessions appropriately, choose the right exercises, and adjust the routine based on the running schedule. With these tips in mind, runners can prevent injuries and improve their performance in a marathon.
If you are suffering from pain or injury caused by running please get in touch with Complete Physio today.