Benefits of Strength Training for Distance Runners

Improve your running performance by incorporating strength training into your running program. Strength Training is a foundational component of a comprehensive distance running training program.

The inclusion of a properly designed strength training program is important because the benefits of strength training are not achieved through running or cross-training alone. In fact, peer reviewed scientific research supports the inclusion of strength training with the distance training program.


Performance Enhancement, Injury Prevention

  • Injury rates among runners are extremely high (at the high school level, cross-country runners experience more injuries than athletes in any other sport, including football and gymnastics).
  • One of the most effective means for minimizing tissue trauma associated with distance running is to develop stronger muscles, tendons, fascia, ligaments and bones. This is the primary reason that every runner should perform regular strength exercise.
  • Contributes to prevention of shin splits, stress fractures, lower back discomfort, knee problems and hip injuries common to distance runners.
  • Allows athletes to adhere to marathon training schedule and thereby maximize performance.
  • Improved muscle strength/endurance.
  • Improved joint flexibility.
  • Increased force/power production.
  • Improved running economy – research indicates 4 percent less oxygen used at sub-maximum running speeds
  • Increased basal metabolic rate contributing to improved body composition.

Discover Strength’s Training Prescription for Distance Runners

  • Strength train twice per week on non-consecutive days.
  • Perform one set of 8-12 exercises covering all muscle groups.
  • Reach momentary muscle fatigue between 8 and 15 repetitions.
  • Perform all repetitions in a slow and controlled manner (lift for 2 seconds, lower for 4 seconds; when in doubt, move slower, never faster).

How to Integrate Strength Training with Running

Integrate strength training into your running program. 

Have questions regarding strength training and distance running – please email or call 763.546.1628.