Strength for Runners

Strength may be defined as the ability to exert or express a force against a resistance using muscles. In terms of athletics, strength can be considered in three categories. Maximum Strength (the greatest force achievable in a single muscle contraction), Elastic Strength (the ability to overcome a resistance with a fast muscle contraction) and Strength Endurance (the ability to express force repeatedly or as fatigue increases). From a running perspective strength is a very important component of fitness. Runners need strength but only require to be strong enough for a specific event or discipline; a sprinter will require more maximum strength than for example a marathon runner. Elastic strength also known as reactive strength is sometimes ignored by runners but if developed can provide an important element to performance. Strength endurance is essential for all runners irrespective of discipline as this will determine performance where the movement is continuous for the event duration. Typically strength can be developed and improved by:

DumbbellsMaximum Strength: Weight training (using free weights i.e. dumb-bells and barbells)



iStock_000022966776XSmallElastic Strength: Plyometric training




IMG_4131Strength Endurance: Hill running and weight training (using body weight)




“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running