Are you ready for strength training?
Make sure you check with your primary care physician to get approval to start a strength training routine. All exercise training includes some inherent risk so make sure your physician agrees that you are ready to begin this training.
Just as adding any new running workout requires patience, you need to be smart about incorporating these strength-building workouts into your training week. For the first few weeks, take it lightly and focus more on making the strength training part of your weekly routine and mastering good technique. Then, as you would do with new running workouts, you can begin to challenge yourself more and more in your strength routines.
To safeguard against injury, you’ll start each strength and core workout with the Dynamic Warm-Up routine. This is NOT an option. You must use this routine to prepare your body for the work head.
Some soreness is to be expected when starting strength training but debilitating soreness where it’s hard to do normal activities of daily living mean you are pushing too hard. Back off some. Your body will thank you and your strength will advance more quickly and smoothly when training optimally.
When to Strength Train
Every runner is different but I recommend that you begin by putting your strength training routines on your easy or non-running days. And if you are putting it on an easy run day, do the strength training BEFORE your run. If you are patient and don’t overdo the strength training at the outset, your quality running days should not be compromised. However, if you still find that your runs on the days following the strength training suffer, then consider moving your strength training to after your quality runs.
When NOT to Start Strength Training
It should be obvious but don’t start a new strength training routine if you are in the final stages before your big race. Wait till after you’ve recovered from the race and add in the new strength training routines. And speaking of races, it’s smart to back off the quantity and quality of the strength training slightly on the days leading into a race, just like you do your run training.
How to Breath
With proper diaphragmatic (aka belly) breathing you set your entire body up for optimal movement and strength gains. An instructional video is posted on the Runner’s Strength Project Facebook page for your assistance. As you learn to breathe properly, you’ll reflexively activate the proper movers and stabilizers, which facilitates effortless, strong and fluid movements.
Another key element to optimal adaptation while running and doing your strength work is your nutrition and hydration. Eat a well balanced, clean diet day in and day out and make sure you are well fueled before your strength training sessions and that you refuel and rehydrate afterwards. A balance of carbohydrates, protein (remember: don’t restrict protein while strength training), fats, and hydration surrounding exercise will keep you energized and ready to go for your next workout.
Full Body Tension
Full body tension allows you to maximize your strength. Think of the tension in your body when doing a plank. This full body tension should be maintained when doing all of your strength training movements. Enhanced full body tension translates not just to improved strength but also towards improved racing and injury-free running. See the videos on our Facebook page on full body tension.
When you workout it is critical that you have a general movement proficiency and can perform all exercises and repetitions with perfect form and technique. This will ensure that your workouts will achieve optimal results and you won’t get hurt. We will include regular posts and videos on the Runner’s Strength Project Facebook page addressing all of the movements in your videos as needed.
Phase 1 (usually weeks 1-4)
For the first few weeks, you’ll lean heavily on the PR Strength & Core Crusher 1 routines. These are the foundational workouts that set you up for the more advanced strength routines to come.
You’ll do 2-3 strength training sessions each week and you should put them on your easy or non-running days.
Start each session with the Dynamic Warm-Up video then move into the PR Strength routine. If you have energy left after the PR Strength routine, then do the Core Crusher 1 routine. If, however, you are wiped out, then move the Core Crusher 1 routine to the next day.
A common routine for runners who do their quality running on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday (long run), is to do their strength training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday but again, listen to your body and remember to take it very controlled at the outset.
Phase 2 (usually weeks 5-8)
Now that you have the hang of things, let’s move into the next phase of workouts. In this phase, you’ll gradually add in the Ferocious Fitness and Core Crusher 2 routines. (And remember that you always start your workout with the Dynamic Warm-Up routine.)
For example, start in Week 5 by substituting the Ferocious Fitness routine for one of your PR Strength sessions. Same for the Core Crusher 2. The goal is that by week 8, you’re focusing more on the Ferocious Fitness and Core Crusher 2 routines. As always, go at your own pace and advance based on how your body is feeling. If you are getting continually run down, then back off some. If you feel fresh and the routines are starting to feel “easy” then advance more aggressively.
Phase 3 (usually weeks 9-12)
After two months of consistent strength training, you are also ready for the Olympic Development routine. Just as you began to slowly substitute the Ferocious Fitness routine for the PR Strength routine, you now want to sprinkle in the Olympic Development routine in place of the Ferocious Fitness routine. But, and this is important, when you do the Olympic Development routine, you only do it once per week. You can use the PRO Strength or Ferocious Fitness on your other strength training day(s).
By the time you hit Phase 3 of the Runner’s Strength Project, you are going to be amazed at how strong you are. Plus, you now have a lot of exercises that you can throw into your routines to keep things fresh and excited.
Dynamic Warm-Up Routine:
The Dynamic Warm-Up is your first step to getting optimal results from all of your workouts. This essential element will prepare your muscles and joints for the workouts to follow. Plan on spending 5-10 minutes each day prior to your strength, core, or injury workouts.
Core Crusher 1 and 2 Routines:
The Core Crusher workouts have been designed specifically for runners and targets all of the core musculature that we use every day in our running. It’s recommended that you start with Core Crusher 1 and either complete it following your strength sessions or on an alternate day. Core Crusher 2 can be implemented once you a week in the 2nd- 4th week until this becomes your main core focused workout.
PR Strength Routine:
PR Strength is your first workout and should be completed until you have mastered all of the exercises. We recommend that you complete your strength workouts on your easy or off days of running.
Ferocious Fitness is a more intense routine and can be implemented once you’ve mastered PR Strength. We have found that strength training 2-3 times per week is a frequency that is both sustainable and produces great results when combined with your run training. After you get proficient at the PR Strength routine, add in Ferocious Fitness to one of your strength days to compliment PR Strength. The goal is to eventually remove PR Strength from your week and focus on Ferocious Fitness.
Olympic Development is our advanced routine and should only be introduced once you have fully mastered all of the content included in this collection. Begin implementation just as you did moving from PR Strength to Ferocious Fitness and gradually sprinkle in Olympic Development. And remember, when you do this program, only do it once per week.
IT Band Injury Fix:
Our progressive approach to treating and correcting the Illiotibial Band Syndrome is unlike anything that you have tried in the past. By mobilizing and re-patterning the hips we plan on making this injury a thing of the past for you and your running. Implement this routine after your foam rolling and stick work. Repeat twice a day until your symptoms have subsided.
Complete this workout while on the road for travel or vacation in your hotel room. No weights or implements are needed and this 20-30 minute workout will be perfect to keep you lean and mean while enjoying your time away from home.