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Strength Training for Runners

Strength Training for Runners

 

I see a lot of runners in clinic. The clear majority of them when asked about whether they do any strength training alongside their running respond with no. There seems to be a common belief amongst runners that the only way to get quicker or run further is to run more. Thankfully, there is now evidence emerging that strength training alongside a running program can actually improve running performance.

 

A recent study by Karsten et al. looked at the Effects of a Sports Specific Maximal Strength and Conditioning Training on 5km performance.  They found that performing a 6-week strengthening program on top of their normal running significantly improved their 5km times over those that just did their normal running. The exercises were carried out two days per week and only included 4 exercises, these were: Romanian dead lifts, parallel squat, calf raises and lunges. The exercises were all carried out at 80% of the athletes 1 rep. max.  The gains were however lost if the exercises were not maintained. However, if the exercises were kept up just once per week, these benefits were maintained.

 

In conclusion, this study highlights the  benefits of strength training for runners.  The great thing is in the long term it only needs to be done once a week. There can be no excuses for not doing them! So, if you are wanting to improve your parkrun PB, just two strength sessions per week over 6 weeks is likely to help. The exercises included in the study are shown below.

 

                Lunge                                     Parallel Squat 

Lunge - strength training for runnersSquat - strength training for runners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Calf Raises               Romanian Deadlift

Calf raises - strength training for runners

Dead lift - strength training for runners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

Karsten B, Stevens L, Colpus M, Larumbe-Zabala E, Naclerio F. The Effects of a Sport-Specific Maximal Strength and Conditioning Training on Critical Velocity, Anaerobic Running Distance, and 5-km Race Performance.

Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2016 Jan;11(1):80-5.

Ice or cold treatments

Using ice treatments – when should you use it??

In my last blog I talked about the use of heat as a form of pain relief. Today I will look at the uses of ice or cold treatments, also known as cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is commonly used for three main reasons: swelling control following initial injury, after intensive exercise and for pain relief.

Ice is commonly used in the sporting field immediately following injury. During my time working with Leeds United, our initial action after injury was to place an ice pack over the injured area. The aim of this is to reduce inflammation and aid recovery. This has been and still is common practice. However, there is some evidence that contradicts this common belief and suggests a cold pack may be the wrong treatment after injury. The rationale is that inflammation and swelling process following an injury is an essential part of the healing process. Therefore, trying to reduce this by cooling the injured area could be counterproductive.

So, should you use ice following and injury?

I advise patients to use ice in the first days following injury as a numbing agent to aid pain relief. It also has an effect on increasing joint range of movement and restoring strength. These are often reduced after an injury.

If you are suffering from longer term pain i.e. not suffering from an acute injury, there is no real evidence to suggest that this is an effective form of pain relief.  That said, some of my patients do tell me that a cold pack is helpful for them. I would therefore not say not to use ice, but to give it a try. Apply the ice in a damp towel for 15-20 minutes and keep checking for any signs of ice burns.

If you would like to talk to someone for further advice, please feel free to contact the West Point team by email at appointments@westpointpractice.co.uk or give us a call on 0113 244 0115