Why Should Runners Add Strength Training?



Running is a fantastic form of exercise that offers numerous benefits for both physical and mental well-being. It helps improve cardiovascular health, increases endurance, and boosts mood. However, many runners tend to focus solely on their mileage and neglect the importance of incorporating strength training into their routine. In this article, we will explore the reasons why runners should add strength training to their regimen and how it can enhance their performance and overall fitness.

1. Injury Prevention

One of the key benefits of strength training for runners is injury prevention. Running is a high-impact activity that puts a significant amount of stress on the muscles, joints, and bones. By incorporating strength training exercises, runners can strengthen their muscles, tendons, and ligaments, reducing the risk of common running injuries such as shin splints, IT band syndrome, and stress fractures. Building a strong foundation through strength training helps to stabilize the body and improve overall biomechanics, leading to a more efficient and injury-resistant running form.

2. Improved Running Economy

Running economy refers to the amount of energy required to maintain a certain running pace. Strength training can significantly improve running economy by increasing muscle strength and power. When the muscles are stronger, they can generate more force with each stride, allowing runners to maintain a faster pace with less effort. Incorporating exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts into a training routine can help build leg and core strength, leading to improved running economy and overall performance.

3. Enhanced Speed and Power

Strength training is not only beneficial for long-distance runners but also for those looking to improve their speed and power. Sprinters, middle-distance runners, and even marathoners can benefit from incorporating explosive exercises like plyometrics and power cleans into their training. These exercises help develop fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for generating power and speed. By including strength training exercises that target explosive power, runners can improve their acceleration, stride length, and overall speed.

4. Increased Muscular Endurance

While running primarily targets the cardiovascular system and builds aerobic endurance, strength training can help increase muscular endurance. By incorporating exercises that target multiple muscle groups, such as circuit training or bodyweight exercises, runners can improve their ability to maintain good form and perform at a high level for longer durations. Increased muscular endurance is particularly beneficial for trail runners or those participating in races with challenging terrains.

5. Balanced Muscle Development

Running predominantly engages certain muscle groups, such as the quadriceps and calves, while neglecting others. This muscle imbalance can lead to overuse injuries and hinder overall performance. Strength training allows runners to address these imbalances by targeting specific muscle groups that may be underdeveloped. By incorporating exercises that focus on the hamstrings, glutes, and core, runners can achieve a more balanced and efficient stride, reducing the risk of injury and improving overall running performance.


While running is an excellent form of exercise, adding strength training to a runner’s routine can provide numerous benefits. From injury prevention and improved running economy to enhanced speed and power, strength training offers a well-rounded approach to running performance and overall fitness. By incorporating a variety of strength training exercises, runners can build a stronger foundation, improve muscular endurance, and achieve a more balanced and efficient stride. So, lace up your running shoes and hit the gym to take your running to the next level!

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