Think of almost any sport in existence and you will realize that running plays an important role. To be a well-rounded runner, strength training should be part of an athlete's arsenal just like agility training. Some of the benefits include maintaining lean muscle mass, minimizing muscle imbalances and increasing core strength.


Besides typical dumbbells, kettlebells can also be incorporated into your workouts. They help increase cardiovascular health without putting too much strain on the muscles. The explosive, quick movement that is required during kettlebell training boosts heart rate, strengthening cardiovascular health while increasing muscle strength, posture and core. Barbells are also another great way to weight train but they definitely require closer guidance and coaching to avoid injury.

Another plus of strength training, especially if you are looking to lose weight or change your aesthetics, is that this type of exercise helps burn fat hours after your workout. It’s very important to be aware of your form at all times and not rush through the movements. This will increase the exercise’s effectiveness and safety. One of the best tips I give my clients is to visualize the muscles that are doing the work as you perform each exercise to really understand the purpose of the movement and get more out of it.

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Single-leg movements are a crucial addition to your routine as they clear up mobility and imbalances between each side of your body. Training your body to move in different planes of motion can help reduce injuries and increase running performance.

Strength training sessions don’t need to go on for very long. Fifteen minutes of doing the functional, compound exercises can be enough depending on your goals. If you feel that lack of time is your issue, think of which runs you can reduce to incorporate more strength work. For example, combine a run with a strength training workout by doing a 30 minute run and a 20 minute strength training session instead of your usual 50 minute run. Instead of a 30 minute run, do sprints for 15-20 minutes and then do a strength workout.

Do your best to pick up weights at least two times a week. Give it a few weeks and notice how you feel. Trust me, it will make a big difference in your everyday life! In order to be a stronger and less injured runner, you need to put in more than just miles. Besides picking up weights on a consistent basis, it's also imperative that you prioritize rest and sleep, as well as proper nutrition and mobility.

Below is a great workout to do on your cross-training day or after a short run:

20 minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible)-

30 mountain climbers

20 squat to kettlebell press

20 russian twists (weights optional)

10 burpees

10 single-leg deadlift (right)

10 single-leg deadlift (left)

10 jump squats

Enjoy!

If you have questions about any of these movements or need help improving your runs or your overall fitness, feel free to reach to Coach Julia at juliamorel@yahoo.com. She is a certified trainer, biomechanist and run coach who shares her blog posts, workout videos and more on her Instagram page, www.instagram.com/thepetitefastinista and her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/thepetitefastinista/ so be sure to follow her for more tips and motivation.