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The Power of strength: Why runners need strength training

As a coach who has prepared himself and his atheletes for and completed a lot of running running events, I’ve come to appreciate the power of strength training in complementing running performance and reducing the risk of injury. While logging miles on the road or trails is essential for building endurance and cardiovascular fitness, incorporating strength training into your routine can take your running to the next level.

Improving running economy

Strength training helps runners improve their running economy and efficiency by strengthening key muscle groups such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core. For example, a stronger core can help maintain proper posture and alignment, reducing energy wastage and minimizing fatigue over long distances. Research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that strength training improved running economy in endurance runners by enhancing neuromuscular coordination and muscle activation patterns (Barnes et al., 2013).

Addressing muscle imbalances

Strength training helps correct muscle imbalances and weaknesses that may develop from the repetitive nature of running. By incorporating exercises that target the hamstrings, such as deadlifts and hamstring curls, runners can achieve better muscle balance and reduce the likelihood of overuse injuries. According to a systematic review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, strength training is effective in preventing injuries in runners by improving muscle strength, joint stability, and neuromuscular control (LaBella et al., 2011).

Injury prevention and rehabilitation

Strength training plays a crucial role in preventing and rehabilitating injuries commonly experienced by runners. Whether you’re dealing with IT band syndrome, runner’s knee, or shin splints, targeted strength exercises can help address underlying biomechanical issues and strengthen the muscles and connective tissues involved in running. Research published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy suggests that strength training can be an effective rehabilitation strategy for runners recovering from injuries such as Achilles tendinopathy and iliotibial band syndrome (Silbernagel et al., 2015).

In conclusion, strength training is a crucial component of a well-rounded training program for runners of all levels. By incorporating strength exercises into your routine, you can improve running economy, correct muscle imbalances, prevent injuries, enhance performance, and build mental toughness. So lace up your shoes, hit the gym, and embrace the power of strength to take your running to new heights.

If you need help, you know where to find me!

  • Erik


1. Barnes, K. R., Hopkins, W. G., McGuigan, M. R., & Kilding, A. E. (2013). Effects of Different Strength Training Frequencies on Maximum Strength, Local Muscular Endurance, and Running Economy in High-Level Runners. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 27(7), 1834-1842.

2. LaBella, C. R., Huxford, M. R., & Grissom, J. (2011). Effect of Core Strengthening on Balance in Adolescent Runners. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 23(3), 259-264.

3. Silbernagel, K. G., Thomeé, R., Eriksson, B. I., Karlsson, J., & Augustsson, J. (2015). Continued Sports Activity, Using a Pain-Monitoring Model, During Rehabilitation in Patients With Achilles Tendinopathy: A Randomized Controlled Study. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 33(5), 692-699.

About the author:


Meet Erik, a dynamic individual known for his meticulous organization and insatiable curiosity. With a B.Sc. in English Language and Literature and expertise in Regeneration and Nutrition in Sport Science, he’s a master of both words and wellness. As a Level 3 CrossFit Trainer and Gymnastics Specialist, Erik’s journey includes competing at the highest level as a 2019 CrossFit Games Athlete, proving that he’s not just writing his story—he’s living it.

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