Why Runners, Cyclist, and Swimmers Need Strength Training

fitness goal setting healthy living midlife athlete Apr 03, 2022

Cardio fanatics have a reputation for disliking strength training . . . BUT research proves that there are so many great benefits of lifting weights to help cardio buffs go faster, longer, and are more powerful!!    

In general, strength training has been proven to improve your cardio economy (how much oxygen your body uses at a certain velocity) by improving neuromuscular coordination and power. Therefore, your body moves more efficiently, requiring less energy! 

Lifting can also help prevent injuries by strengthening muscles and connective tissues.

It’s important for cardio lovers to incorporate strength training into their weekly routine.  

  • Start with twice a week.  
  • Each session should be 30-60 minutes and involve about 6 exercises with 2-3 sets of 10 reps.

When you lift weights it is really important to understand at the beginning that the new, added stress you put on your muscles can directly impact on your performance. 

Start by lifting weights after running. And give yourself  24-48 hours of recovery after strength training before a high-intensity running session. If you lift before a workout, you risk not nailing your workout and prolonging recovery time.

Don’t overcomplicate strength training moves when it comes to lifting weights.  Free weights and bodyweight moves are enough for a great strength training session.  

Here are a few tips to staying healthy and injury free and while improving your cardio performance:

  • Use the appropriate size weights - not too light that it doesn’t provide a challenge but not to heavy that you throw off your form
  • Don’t overload volume /reps
  • Don’t lift within 24 hours before a hard running workout
  • Use proper form (not sure, ask for assistance or watch a video to learn proper form and workout in front of a mirror to yourself in check) 
  • Make sure to wear proper clothing including shoes that provide balance and stability 
  • Don’t forget to work those calves
  • Don’t ignore your core and upper body - they are an essential part of improving/maintaining proper form when your fatigued during a tough cardio session 
  • Don’t expect it to be easy

Strength, just like building cardio endurance, is based on consistency!  

By making weightlifting a regular part of your running routine, you will see gains and be faster!

Here is an easy plan to help you get started: 

  • Monday: Strength train upper body/core
  • Tuesday: Tempo run
  • Wednesday: Easy run; Strength train lower body
  • Thursday: Rest day
  • Friday: Tempo run 
  • Saturday: Easy run / Long run (alternate each week) 
  • Sunday: Rest day 

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