If You Are A Runner, You Need To Lift Weights!

If you are strictly a distance runner and your racking up a lot of miles during the week or training for a race, I then ask:  Do you want to become faster, more efficient and help lower your risk of an injury? A healthy dose of strength training is exactly what you need!  Now you might be wondering how often do I need to hit the weights?  Well, I would recommend at least 2 days per week.  I have trained quite a few runners over the years and it’s amazing to see the new PR’s being hit, just by dedicating 2-3 days per week to strength training.  There are numerous benefits to strength training and I want to give you 5 great reasons as to why you need to pick up some weights.

  • Strength training will help you become faster, overall. Who doesn’t want to get faster?  Ever hear the story about 2 friends who were being chased by a bear?  Well, imagine yourself in that situation…all you have to do is be faster than your friend, right?  A good strength program that incorporates lower body lifts (deadlifts, squats, and lunges) will do wonders for strengthening your legs and improving your body’s efficiency while running.  One reason you will become faster is that heavy strength training recruits type 2 muscle fibers (explosive), compared to type 1 fibers (endurance).  This will help with “the kick” during the end of a race.

  • Strength training will help with body composition. Maintaining a “light” weight for running is understandable, but If you are increasing your running volume to shed some pounds, you can put yourself at risk for an injury.  Instead, add in some strength training!  Believe me, you will not bulk up and turn into a bowling ball.  Strength training keeps your metabolic rate elevated (post-exercise) compared to a five mile run.  More bang for your buck!

  • Strength training improves structural balance throughout the body. Runners are known to become quad dominant and have hip issues, so a prescription of exercises for the posterior chain (backside) can help balance out the front and back.  Implementing any hip hinging movements Deadlift, KB swing. (See pic below) will target the posterior chain.  This also goes for right and left imbalances.  Adding in uni-lateral (single-sided) exercises can help balance out both sides of the body.

  • Strength training can help reduce the risk of an injury, specifically an overuse injury. Nobody has time to get hurt! Runners that pound the pavement are not being kind to their joints, strength training can help build up the connective tissue and bone structure to help counteract all the running.

  • A strength program targeting the entire body can lead to a stronger core. This can tie in with injury prevention, but a stronger core can help limit back pain and once again make you faster and more efficient.  Incorporating traditional lifts (squats, deadlifts, overhead press, pull-ups…)  will be your best bet because these lifts challenge core stability in different positions.  Also doing heavy carries in any position (low/rack/overhead) for a good amount of time will challenge not only your grip, but postural muscles that make up the core.



Strength Coach,

Silas Perreault

I grew up in Northern Michigan in a small town called Harbor Springs. I attended Alpena Community College where I had the opportunity to play basketball and earn my Associate’s of Arts degree. I then moved to the great state of North Carolina, where I located to Wilmington. I finished my undergrad at UNCW in 2012 where I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science. Upon graduation, I became certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). In 2014, I have gone through testing to become a Certified High School Strength & Conditioning Coach (HSSCC) as well as a Level 1 USA Weightlifting Coach. I have experience with a wide range of clientele from kids, high school/collegiate athletes, to the older adult. In my spare time, I enjoy being active whether it is surfing, hiking, or lacing up the Nike’s to play some basketball!