Strength Training for Endurance Athletes
Ever feel like you're running and never getting any faster? Or you're hitting a wall in the middle of a ride? Or are you super injury prone and every training season you're benched?
Strength training is so important to us endurance athletes. I know I know you're training a lot. All of you triathletes put in so much time already! And you marathon runners can be putting in hours on your feet each week. I'm not telling you to go out and spend 6 hours a week in the gym. Overtraining is easy as an endurance athlete, but even 90 minutes a week doing some strength training can radically affect your performance.
For years the thought was strength training makes you bulky or gain too much weight. Yes, endurance athletes tend to be leaner and lighter than many of our other sports. But one, 5 pounds of muscle could actually improve your performance, maybe not everyone. Two, if you're training like a true endurance athlete, a little lifting is NOT going to cause you to bulk up. If anything it will help you shed a little fat and get leaner.
But let's really talk about the benefits:
- Helps prevent injury
- Increases strength
- Builds muscle
- Reduces body fat
- Improves speed
- Address muscular imbalance
- Overcome a weakness
Strength training also includes all areas of the body, not just legs people! Core and your upper body are super important to train as well. Overall fitness is something that can truly put you over the edge in distance events. Why? Because strength improves endurance, as long as your doing it specifically for your sport. CrossFit and crazy powerlifting is not going to help you much if you're doing it 5-7 times a week. It's important to remember your goals and focus on sports specific strength training for your event. I wouldn't encourage most endurance athletes to spending more than 2-3 hours strength training a week. It's just too much on the body and it engages your ATP-PC system (power/short) too much working against your oxidative system which increase endurance. It's about balance.