The reason many people start running in the first place was to avoid the gym. Working out with machines and weights seems oppressive for newbies, when compared to an invigorating run on open roads. As you start getting serious about running, however, you will realize how indispensable weight training can be for boosting your performance on the track. It’s something most experienced marathoners will compel new runners to inculcate in their workout routines.
There are other advantages as well: regular strength-training makes you far less prone to injuries because it works on your core muscles. It also helps you maintain good running form and handle fatigue better. These are 5 routine but effective workouts to start with.
Crossover Lunge with Weights
Standing tall and holding weights in each hand, bring your left knee up to your chest. You will feel the stretch under your thigh and into your glute. Release and, with control, step that same leg backwards diagonally, behind your stationary knee. Keep your shoulders and hips square so you feel a good stretch in your hips. Now stand tall and use your stationary foot to help push back up to standing. Repeat 10 per side for 3 sets.
Box Step Ups
Using any sort of step up (bench or stairs) place one foot up so it forms a 90-degree angle with your hips and knee. Holding a weight in each hand, stand tall and drive your lower foot forward and up in front of you, raising that leg to a 90-degree angle. Do not jump up. Return your trailing leg back to the floor. Repeat 10 on each leg for 3 sets.
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart behind a barbell. Bend through your knees and hips to get your grip on the bar. You will be using your hips more. Stick your butt and chest out and keep your back flat. Hold the bar with your arms to the outside of your legs. Keep elbows locked and stand up with the bar by straightening out your knees and hips. Stand tall and squeeze your glutes. Keep the bar close to you at all times. Place the bar back on the ground. Reset your position. Work up to 10 repetitions for 3 sets.
Standing tall with weights in each hand, rise up on your toes while lifting your shoulders up to your ears. Come back down. Make sure you are using heavy enough weights to feel this in the top of your shoulders and in your calves. Repeat 15 times for 3 sets.
Single-Leg Dumbbell Row
Holding a weight in your left hand, brace your right hand on a chair. Hinge forward so your back is parallel to floor. Extend your left arm down and your left leg behind you. Slowly bend your left elbow and draw the weight up until your elbow is even with your torso. Do not let your hip lift as you draw your elbow back. Hold; then lower your arm. Do 10 reps. Switch sides. Complete 3 sets.
Often new runners are hesitant about taking up weights due to the fear of getting too bulked up and heavy. This is a myth. You can design you training program to include specific weights and workouts that build strength without beefing you up. In fact, certain weight routines that are designed for runners actually help increase range of motion and flexibility. Power-boosting plyometric exercises have been shown to improve time and running economy.
When you’re starting out, weight-training is a great option for your non-running days. Always ensure that you’re lifting weights under expert supervision, particularly when in the beginning. Wrong routines and incorrect weights can cause muscle pulls or even worse injuries. Your program should be focused on correcting muscle imbalances and fixing incorrect movement patterns, all while improving overall strength and explosive power.