Running: Strength training for distance runners

Posted: January 05, 2014

Anyone who has run for some time has had the importance of strength training drilled into his or her head: If you don't hit the gym a few times a week, you're more prone to injury, which could lead to a layoff, which means no more running.

But when I'm putting in 30, 40, 50 miles a week, the last thing I want to do is squats on legs that already feel like overcooked spaghetti. What I really want are some nachos and a hot shower.

Jeff Horowitz has a solution. He's been a running coach for more than a decade and is the author of Quick Strength for Runners. He came up with the idea for this book while writing Smart Marathon Training, which was published in 2011.

"I realized that this subject really deserved to be explained in greater detail," he said of strength training. "My experience was that many runners didn't really know how important it is, or how to incorporate a strength program into their routine. I wanted to fix that."

Strength training doesn't just ward off injury, but can help runners run faster. Horowitz said he can't blame runners for not being to interested in it, though. They're just "interested in doing what they love to do, which is run."

The book asks for one hour a week for eight weeks. The exercises are broken into two groups: standing and weighted exercises in one, and floor exercises in the other. They're all designed to be done at home with a few pieces of equipment, including hand weights, an exercise ball, yoga mat, and Bosu Balance Trainer (which looks like an exercise ball cut in half).

These aren't just lower-body exercises, either.

"Running is a total body experience," Horowitz said. "A strong core is crucial to strong, efficient running, and weakness in the core, arms, chest, shoulder, and back muscles can inhibit proper form."

After a series of photographs that show how to do the exercises (and variations if you want to make them harder), the book then shows eight weeks of workouts, mixing up which of those exercises are included each week.

I admit, though, that this isn't how I'm using it. I'll set my timer for 15 to 30 minutes (or half an episode of Law & Order) and do a group of exercises until time's up. I've had the book for about three weeks, and I'm noticing a difference, not really in my speed but in how my clothes fit.

This isn't as efficient as Horowitz's workouts, but like he said: I'm not lazy. I would rather be running.


Running:

Racing Schedule

Sunday

Browning Ross Winter Series. 5K every Sunday, through Feb. 23. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or

BCRR Winter Series Wild Card (distance TBD on race day). The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, 9:30 a.m. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com $10 per race.

Jan. 12

38th Mayor's Icicle Ten Miler, 9 a.m., Wilmington. Fee: $35 ($40 after 1/8)

BCRR Winter Series Polar Bear 8 Miler, The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, 9:30 a.m. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com $10 per race.

Browning Ross Winter Series. 5K every Sunday, through Feb. 23. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or

Jan. 19

BCRR Winter Series Honest Abe, 4.6 Miler. The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, 9:30 a.m. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com

$10 per race.

Jan. 26

BCRR Winter Series, Winter Series Terrible Tyler 9.3 Miler (15K). The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, 9:30 a.m. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com $10 per race.

Browning Ross Winter Series. 5K every Sunday, through Feb. 23. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or

Feb. 2

BCRR Winter Series, Winter Series Pick Your Way 5.3 Miler). The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, 9:30 a.m. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com $10 per race.

Browning Ross Winter Series. 5K every Sunday, through Feb. 23. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or

Feb. 8

Chilly Willy Frostbite 5K, Camp Okanickon, 1303 Stokes Rd. , Medford, 9 a.m.

$12 preregister, $20 post. JTiming.com

Feb. 9

BCRR Winter Series, Eenie-Meanie-Minie-Moe Half Marathon. The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, 9:30 a.m. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com $10 per race.

Browning Ross Winter Series. 5K every Sunday, through Feb. 23. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or

Feb. 16

BCRR Winter Series, Staggered Start 4.6 Miler. The Boathouse, Tyler State Park, Newtown, 9:30 a.m. Contact Janet Lewis ( janet.lewis@alumni.duke.edu) or bcrrclub.com

$10 per race.

Browning Ross Winter Series. 5K every Sunday, through Feb. 23. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or

Feb. 23

Final races of Browning Ross Winter Series. Glassboro 10-miler and 5K. Rowan University parking lot on Bowe Blvd. Race: 1 p.m. Race day registration only. Age group awards. Contact Ringo Adamson, 856-904-3543 or

March 9

Icebreaker 5K and 8K Fun Runs at CrossFit Nassau, CrossFit Nassau, 255 Nassau St., Princeton. Races at 9 a.m. Day-of check in: 8 a.m. Proceeds benefit Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund and Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad.

March 22

Phillies Charities 5K, registration opens Monday, Jan. 13 at 9 a.m. on phillies.com.

April 5

"Fourth Spring Run" 6K cross-country run at the Institute Woods. Princeton Friends School, 470 Quaker Road, Princeton, N.J. Check-in at 8:45 a.m. 6K starts at 10. Limited to 150 participants. Walkers are welcome. Anyone expecting to take longer than 50 minutes should arrive by 9:30 a.m. for possible separate early start. Online preregistration only, until March 22: $30 including T-shirt, after $35. Discount for no-shirt option. www.princetonac.org. Questions:
E-mail date, name of race, site, time and fee, plus registration information, to sports editor John Quinn at jquinn@phillynews.com. Put Running calendar in re: field.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|