HOW TO RUN STRONG

Man Tri’s Nick Thomas guides you through the prin­ci­ples of strength and con­di­tion­ing to im­prove your run­ning

Triathlon Plus - - Contents -

Strength and con­di­tion­ing ses­sions are the se­cret to run­ning faster.

M any run­ners have pre­vi­ously done strength and con­di­tion­ing (S&C) train­ing at some point but usu­ally with lit­tle struc­ture or pur­pose. For re­sis­tance train­ing to pro­vide any ben­e­fit the fol­low­ing points must be achieved:

• Ef­fec­tive ex­er­cises are used

• The re­sis­tance is ap­pro­pri­ate

• The pro­gram is pro­gres­sive

• Safe, cor­rect tech­nique is demon­strated at all times

There are sev­eral po­ten­tial ben­e­fits of fol­low­ing a well-de­signed S&C pro­gram:

1 IN­CREASED FORCE PRO­DUC­TION

Run­ning re­quires force pro­duc­tion as you make con­tact with the ground and drive your­self for­wards. The more force you can re­peat­edly ap­ply the faster you’ll go, re­gard­less of the dis­tance. It’s also worth con­sid­er­ing that strength nat­u­rally de­te­ri­o­rates faster with age with­out ef­fec­tive re­sis­tance train­ing.

2 IN­JURY PREVEN­TION

Joints that are sta­bilised by stronger mus­cles are likely to func­tion more ef­fi­ciently for longer and un­der greater stress. Sim­ply put, the stronger your body is, the more aer­o­bic train­ing it can tol­er­ate.

3 IM­PROVED ECON­OMY

Slow­ing in the later stages of a race is of­ten due to de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in tech­nique as the mus­cu­loskele­tal sys­tem fa­tigues and can’t main­tain ef­fi­ciency. By im­prov­ing mus­cu­lar en­durance, elas­tic­ity and func­tional strength you’ll be more likely to main­tain ef­fec­tive tech­nique un­til the fin­ish.

4 IM­PROVED TECH­NIQUE AND CO­OR­DI­NA­TION

Much strength de­vel­op­ment is due to im­proved mus­cle co­or­di­na­tion and syn­chro­ni­sa­tion through one or more joints. Ex­er­cises that de­velop co­or­di­na­tion will con­trib­ute to im­proved sport­spe­cific tech­nique.

5 FIT­TING IT IN

I sug­gest you com­plete your S&C ses­sion im­me­di­ately af­ter a swim, bike or run ses­sion.

Two 30 minute ses­sions each week will be enough to de­velop func­tional strength pro­vid­ing the choice and in­ten­sity of ex­er­cises are ap­pro­pri­ate. Shorter ses­sions will also pre­vent you caus­ing too much mus­cle dam­age so run ses­sions won’t be com­pro­mised.

6 KEEP IT SPE­CIFIC

Hav­ing stronger mus­cles in iso­la­tion is very un­likely to make you run faster, so the key is to se­lect ex­er­cises that are rel­e­vant to the me­chan­ics of run­ning. Avoid ma­chines un­less spe­cific ex­er­cises have been ad­vised by a health­care pro­fes­sional: they work iso­lated mus­cles through a spe­cific range of move­ment and pro­vide no or very lit­tle func­tional ben­e­fit.

Ex­er­cises should in­volve mul­ti­ple joints and mus­cle groups work­ing in an in­te­grated, co­or­di­nated man­ner within a nat­u­ral range of mo­tion. “Train the move­ment, not the mus­cle” is the key prin­ci­ple to fol­low.

7 CHOOSE THE COR­RECT RE­SIS­TANCE

Most peo­ple use re­sis­tance that is far too low to achieve the gains they’re look­ing for with too high rep­e­ti­tion max (RM).

High rep­e­ti­tion maxes (15+ RM) will de­velop strength en­durance but cause con­sid­er­able fa­tigue which will then af­fect sub­se­quent sport-spe­cific ses­sions. Low reps (3-6 RM) will de­velop strength but re­quire good tech­nique and a pe­riod of adap­ta­tion to de­velop tech­nique and mus­cu­loskele­tal co­or­di­na­tion.

8-12 RM is the tra­di­tional range to de­velop hy­per­tro­phy but bridges the pro­gres­sion from adap­ta­tion to strength-spe­cific ranges.

8 THE SO­LU­TION

Ini­tially, it makes sense to use lower weights with a higher rep max and pro­gres­sively in­crease re­sis­tance (weight) while re­duc­ing the RM. In the build up to an event, ply­o­met­ric ex­er­cises is then ad­vised, when the aim is to im­prove mus­cu­lar ‘snap’ with­out un­wanted mus­cu­lar fa­tigue or DOMS.

Squat and press with dumb­ells

Al­ter­nat­ing lunge jump

Box jump

Burpee jump

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