I hope most of you who are endurance athletes know the value of strength training, speed work, and a solid flexibility regimen (whether it be straight stretching, yoga, or pilates) in regards to your running performance.
For those of you who say, “Dave, I barely have enough time to fit in my runs, swims and cycling. There is no way I can go to the gym and pump iron a few times a week.”
I say to you nay-sayers that there is always time to get some strength work in. I’m not talking about 1-2 hours a day, I’m talking about maybe 2-3 times per week for maybe 30-45 min, tops. And especially if you are a new endurance athlete (maybe a former couch potato) and over the age of 35, then you should definitely be doing some strength work with your running.
Why? You may ask. Because as we get older we definitely need to do strength training to hold off the loss of bone density that occurs when we become sedentary. If you combine the amount of impact placed upon your body especially when running – a strength or weight lifting plan is crucial to ward off injury.
You Don’t Need to be a Gym Rat
Out here where I live in Phoenix we have a great YMCA. After a bit of a hiatus, for the past 2 years I have been going regularly there to do strength workouts. I don’t spend hours in the gym. My lifting routine is done no longer than 25-35 minutes.
If gyms aren’t your thing, than simply doing body-strength exercises are a great start (i.e, push ups, sit up, pull ups, squats, lunges, jumps, etc.). There are also numerous infomercials that sell various strength workout systems where you can get a solid workout in less than 1-hour, 30-minutes and sometimes less. I’m not endorsing any of these right here (nor am I negatively critiquing any of them), but my point is that there are ways to get strong without going to a gym for a reasonable price point.
More than Just the Long Run, Ride or Swim
I simply believe in more than just running, swimming and cycling with your endurance training program. With the many gyms in your area, DVDs you can buy or videos you can stream to help you get stronger – not to mention the many personal trainers in your area – there is no excuse not to hit the weights or do a few core and strength body resistance exercises a couple times a week.
If you wish to be a consistent endurance athlete as you get older, then combining balance, strength, and flexibility all into your weekly workout regimen are essential elements to a successful, injury-free and pain-free training program.