Weight training

Last week I had a quick look at the benefits to runners of including strength training in their program. This week we'll look at when to schedule strength training in a running program. Where should you fit it in so that you get the benefit of having it in there but not have an adverse effect on your main activity, that is to say running?  

Strength and conditioning in sport are more common place over time. The role of the strength and conditioning specialist becoming more important as athletes look to maximise their potential. This makes a lot of sense from when we considier the benefits of being a stronger athlete. A stronger athlete will, in most cases, never be anywhere tapping out their strength in a game situation.  The conditioning side is about what is the appropriate type of work to be done. There is a lot to be gained from training the different energy systems but what ones are important.  Knowing what aspects to train and where to place them are very important. There is no point  in a marathon runner doing a Tabata session or a sprinter running for an hour.  Plyometric drills that can of great benefit when used correctly for runners of all distances.  

Squatting is about as natural a movement as you can get but it is a skill that we in Western Europe and the US/Canada rarely practise. As such, as with any skill, not practising it means we lose it. Our lifestyles mean we do not need to squat in order to do anything then combined with a sedentary lifestyle has resulted in many of us losing the ability to do it well. As young children we have the ability to do it but often find that by the time we are adults, at least in the Europe/America, that we have lost the ability simply, I suspect, because we do not make use of it on a daily basis.   Fit young man doing squats on track

Keeping moving as we age is much more important than is often given consideration too and it is often just accepted that as we get older we can do and will do less. From our 30's we start to lose muscle mass, medically known as sarcopenia, at a rate of up to 3-5% per decade in those who are physically inactive. So given that most people have sedentary jobs, if you buy into the idea that as you get older you can do less then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, especially where the accepted inactivity alongside the sedentary job push us towards the 3-5% figure.

I’ve been talking about the importance of good posture recently and figured discussing the tools that might be worth investing in in order to help maintain it. The maintenance of good posture comes down to having our skeletal structure correctly aligned. For this to happen our soft tissues must be balanced so that we aren’t getting any asymmetrical pulling from any one structure or number of different ones, think about the effects of sitting and how it affects the front and back of our bodies differently. Once we have balance in terms of the “pull” between opposing areas we need to have the strength to maintain this good position. So my list would include, though not be limited to:

I’ve said before that i think that one of the biggest contributing factors to the problems I see in many of my clients is a lack of strength, and I’m not talking about being a competitor in the World’s Strongest Man. If this is a lack of overall body strength rather than a specific area it is often combined a lack of general fitness and sometimes in both cases with poor ranges of movement in one or more joints. A lack of a reasonable degree of strength and general fitness makes it difficult to maintain good posture and carry out routine jobs, it will mean you tire more quickly and not just whilst doing physical tasks whilst poor range of movement in any joint will result in compensatory movement patterns that will then put strain on other areas. One of the primary goals of any athlete’s strength and conditioning program is injury prevention; a stronger, fitter athlete will be more injury resistant. This applies to everybody. One of the main reasons for getting fit is to make you more injury resistant and make routine tasks easier. I therefore thought it might be interesting to lay out what I do on a weekly basis.