The global pandemic has a lot of us out running. New runners and those re-familiarizing themselves with running are joining the throng of runners. It is fantastic to see. It’s one of the few exercises where no gym is required and social distancing is easy to maintain. Whether you’ve gotten back into running over the past few months or just started running this week, it’s a good time to remind yourself of the basics and develop a plan that will help you enjoy the sport for years to come.
Jason Fitzgerald’s goal is to help runners run more, better, and longer. He has worked to find the answers that we all need if we want to run our best for a long time. Shortcuts and quick fixes don’t produce sustained progress and often result in injury and burnout.
Jason has created “Strength Running,” which is a curriculum all about strength running for runners. On his website and podcast, he shares the benefits of strength training and which types of exercises help runners increase their distance and speed and prevent injury. Jason answered your questions about how to build a strength training center in your home, theories about running that have changed over the years, and how to get started in running. Read along!
The New Runner
If 2020 has you running like you never have before, we totally get it. How else can you escape what has turned out to be a wild year? Welcome to the club! Running is a great way to calm your mind, explore your city, get some fresh air, and stay healthy.
When you are first getting into running (or getting back into it) make sure to treat yourself with kindness. Don’t set your expectations too high, and allow yourself to get over the hump. “Stick with it. Be consistent. And be gradual with your increases in mileage and intensity,” says Jason. “Do some strength training so you can stay healthy and strengthen your muscles, so you can reduce the likelihood of injury.”
Jason also mentions that your body needs a few weeks to get used to running. You’ll likely be tired and sore as you get used to being on your feet for so long and moving your body in that way. After 2-4 weeks, you’ll get over that initial hump.
Why Do Runners Need to Strength Train?
It may seem that all of the strength required to run can come from running itself. While your legs, core, and upper body will all go through changes as you begin running, there are some parts of your body that need to be strengthened to support this activity.
One of the most crucial preventative measures for runners is to develop the muscles that allow you to have good form while running. Injuries often come at times of fatigue because your posture and form become compromised. When you put too much pressure on different parts of your body, like your knees, then your likelihood of injury increases significantly.
Your core and hips are two areas that often need more attention in order to give you that stable foundation, but don’t be overly concerned about getting into the gym for hours every week. Building a lot of muscle isn’t the goal in strength running. Strength training as a runner usually means doing a few exercises for 10-20 minutes after most runs.
Jason’s Three Strength Training Motivations
As a runner, you definitely didn’t sign up to lift a bunch of weights, and it might be something you want to avoid at all costs. However, it doesn’t take much to make sure you are allowing yourself to run your best. If you are finding it hard to spare some time to do strength training on top of your runs, Jason suggests decreasing your mileage to make time for it. A few extra miles per week might not make a big difference, but a strong runner’s body will.
Here are three more motivations for you if strength training sounds like the pits.
1) You will feel empowered. As you build strength, pay attention to how you feel. When you build your strength, you will feel more confident and that will translate into the other work you do.
2) You will be a better runner. It’s as simple as that. You will be able to run longer, faster, and for more of your life. Like Jason mentioned, he would rather you skip some of your running than skip a short strength training session.
3) You will look better naked. Enough said. More tone and more muscle will have you standing in front of the mirror a bit longer than you usually do.
Keep up the good work! Let’s all keep running and make sure to do those exercises that will give us the best running life. Check out Jason’s website to learn more!
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A digital and event platform for black women who use running as a means to impact the world for our community. Sharing and celebrating the diversity of what it is to be a long distance runner. Founded by friends based out of Washington DC, who wanted to expand on the picture of what a long distance runner looks like, by telling stories of long distance black women runners. They offer MANY resources, nutrition tips, product reviews, training, wellness and self care.
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Thank you to Jason, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.