From Coach Amy Winters
Even if you have the most perfect running form and mechanics, if you’re not strength training, you’re not performing at your optimal level. You’re also putting yourself at greater risk for injury.
Building powerful muscles and strengthening tendons and ligaments, protects the bone structure and counterbalances the impact the body absorbs when pounding the pavement. This increased ability to sustain prolonged periods of repetitive motion will not only result in over all gains in performance, but also speed, especially during that final phase of a race. You simply have more engine power to pull you through.
Strength training is especially important for those logging a lot of miles and those who are injury prone. Strength work is key to addressing muscle imbalances so one side of the body isn’t taking unnecessary excess force (and consequently wearing down) as well as increasing flexibility. Runners in particular are quad dominant. Balancing those strong front-of-the-leg muscles with strong, flexible hamstrings, glutes and calves will help to power up hills and leave you less achy the next day (tight hammies, anyone?). A powerful upper body helps to keep your form upright and in place over the long road and prevents shoulder aches from all of those arm swings. And if nothing else, a strong core - the origin of all upright movement- is necessary to keep everything in place. When the body is performing at its optimal level, you’re getting the best out of your physical self and that’s also bound to be a boost for the brain, as well as the brawn.