5 Reasons Why Runners Should Strength Train

Thursday, 17 April 2008  |  Running + Triathlon

The jury is still out on whether a runner should lift weights or not.

I’ve interviewed several runners asking whether they pay regular visits to the gym or do strength training exercises at home and I’ve received different responses. Elite runner A only uses free weights on his arms to mimic the vigorous arm motion while running. Serious runner B lifts weights 3 to 4x a week. She increased weight training on both upper and lower body a few months before a marathon for strengthening and only decreased this a few weeks prior to her marathon. It worked for her as she finished her first marathon in tip top shape. Serious runner C is against any kind of weight training for runners. He believes one can perform strengthening exercises through drills and running hills.

Almost all running books I’ve read recommends strength training twice a week as a good cross training option for off-running days. Why even Paula Radcliffe believes it’s beneficial to runners.

I guess there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to weights and running. I say just do what works for you. If strength training can improve your performance in running (and gives you a svelte and toned body as a bonus), then why not right?

Here are TBR’s top 5 reasons why you should lift weights:

1) builds and strengthens muscle

2) prevents injury

3) improves performance

4) speeds up metabolism which leads to burning more calories

5) gives you a chance to spot Aga Muhlach* in the flesh! I just saw him at my gym two days ago!

* Note to men: kindly replace Aga Muhlach with your favorite female celebrity.