Injury prevention (Strength training)
The repetitive movement of running puts your body through immense stress especially your muscles, tendons and joints. The impact forces during running can be 2-3 times one’s body weight. One way to counteract the stresses your body goes through when running and lowering the probability of an injury is to include strength training into your training program. Strength training is not just for body builders and sprint runners it can be a fundamental part of every athletes training program to reach their peak, recovering from an injury or preventing the onset of one. A recent study carried out by The Journal of Strength and conditioning research found that strength training when added to endurance training program improves running economy.
Maintaining and Improving your overall strength means that you need less effort to maintain a certain pace when running; this will lead to saving energy for later in the race or training session. Strength decline is first noticeable after 5-6 days without training, so one session a week of approximately an hour should therefore suffice for an athlete to maintain the strength they already have. You will need more than once a week to build on your current strength (2-3 times per week is needed).Remember that stretching is also important in injury prevention and also to maintain the natural flexibility of the muscles. Strength training will protect your body from injuries for example: muscles themselves are strengthened which will help prevent tears and pulls, increase muscle mass will also strengthen joints and absorb most of the impact of running, ligaments and tendons also become stronger.
Strength training can be done at home so no need to go to the gym, and by just using your own bodyweight for resistance there is no need for expensive equipment. Before you start make sure you get help and advice from a personal trainer or coach who is aware of your training needs and background. Make sure the exercises are specific to running for example: squats, lunges, step-ups on a bench or stairs, etc. Give it a try for six weeks and you will be amazed at the results.