Should Marathon Runners Strength Train their Legs?
Most marathon runners train primarily by running and neglect the benefits of incorporating strength training into their weekly routines. Yes, running itself does help make the legs stronger, but I’m talking about building muscle and strength in the legs with specific lower body exercises. The goal is creating a program that is simple and easy to use but also improves running performance.
When you begin training for a race, it is important that your legs are strong and the best way to strengthen your legs is to do lower body conditioning exercises with a routine.
Benefits of strength training the lower body:
-Helps you run faster
-Protect you from injury, especially overuse injuries
-Minimize fatigue in the lower body
-develop leg power
Fitting a leg workout into your running schedule?
The biggest question asked by my clients is when and how to fit in a lower body workout into their running schedule. Below are my tips on building a leg workout into your marathon training program:
1) Never do a leg workout the day before or after your scheduled longest run of the week
2) Do this workout twice per week only
3) It is best to do this workout after one of your weekly mid distance runs when you have the following day scheduled as an “off” day.
4) Never do a leg strength workout on back to back days
5) Schedule your hill run and leg strength routine in the same workout
6) Be consistent
7) If your legs feel heavy, slow, and weak then take it as a sign that you need a few days off from running and weight training.
I did not incorporate a leg workout in my marathon training until I was training for my third marathon and I wish I had started earlier. I could feel the difference in my running performance which was stronger. Also, it was the first time I did not sustain an injury during training. Most importantly, I did not hit the infamous wall at mile 20!!!
Good luck and let me know how you do with this program. Feel free to leave your comments here on the blog and I will respond to you.