Runners Strength

Runners Strength
11/01/2022 Perium

During this time of year, many among us will make the decision to take positive steps towards a healthier lifestyle. The question is- what is the best step to take? Most will take that first step in the form of a run or jog in the hope that this will solve a lot of their problems, only to find themselves in a few weeks time lacking momentum, inspiration, and starting to bear niggles and injuries.

Although running is a perfectly normal and healthy exercise, this does not mean that it does not lack any complexity, and that you shouldn’t take ample time and consideration before you start any running routine. Partnering with our ambassador and ex British Heptathlete Ben Gregory, we’ve put together a ‘Runners strength’ programme to help set you up for success.

But why do you need to be strong to run? Unfortunately, running takes a lot more than simply putting one foot in front of the other, and relies on an array of different muscle groups firing and working simultaneously in order to produce a seamless movement. Not working on strengthening muscles such as the glutes, hamstrings and the tibialis may lead to ailments such as sore knees and shin splints further down the line. For those of you that have had the pleasure of dealing with these ailments, you will know all too well that once they set in, they are very hard to remedy. The correct approach is to always be proactive rather than reactive, giving yourself a greater foundation for success and longevity.

How often should you run? Especially if you are just starting out, less is certainly more. Try not to think of how many miles you can get in today, but more how many miles you are going to get in the year. Keeping this far larger goal in mind will allow you to think of the bigger picture before you decide to overtrain in order to squeeze an extra mile out of one particular run. The idea in the primary phase of any running programme is to develop good running technique by making quality the goal instead of quantity. 2-3 runs per week is more than enough for any beginner.

How far should you run? The best advice here is to stop measuring miles at this stage and focus more on quality and intensity. Keep track of your heart rate and always aim to stick to either zones 2 or 3 on your slightly longer runs, making sure that you never overexert yourself. Interval training is a fantastic way to get good quality reps in at a higher intensity. Something like a 1:1 run/walk ratio is a great way to avoid injury and develop good movement patterns. During these intervals you may allow your heart rate to climb slightly higher, meaning your capacity will benefit more from knowing when to rest.

How do you recover? Rest! If you are needing days to recover from a run, or are feeling particularly sore it’s simple- you’re doing too much. Reduce your volume and stick more to shorter intervals, slowly building yourself up from there. Worried that you’re not burning calories or getting the miles in? Walk! Walking on rest days is the best way to not only keep the calorie count burning high, but also works wonders for increasing circulation to muscles and subsequently reducing muscle soreness/ fatigue.

How do you track progress? It’s definitely not ‘total calories burned’ or ‘distance run’- these objectives will only lead you down the path of injury and eventually giving up. Use consistency as your measuring stick, with your overall feel being a guide as to whether what you are doing is working or not. Doubling your mileage is no good to you if it means that your knees hurt after a month and you’re thinking about giving up. Look at smaller objectives, such as decreasing your fastest mile, or even a kilometre. Only when you feel extremely comfortable with smaller distances should you even entertain going further.

Now you have the info you need to start strategizing how you are going to make the most of 2022, be sure to let us know in the comments on our social media posts how you are all getting on. Time to hit the roads.

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