“Don’t let your engine outpace your chassis”
How to build an injury-resistant body and prevent running injuries.
Runners are often very good at running, but when the topic of strength training comes up, many runners, well, run away from it, mostly because they believe it will make them heavier and therefore more prone to injury.
This is however, is thankfully a complete myth, in fact quite the opposite is true. Supplementing running with strength training exercises will not only help you prevent injury, but it will also make you a stronger, faster, and a more efficient runner.
One of the major reasons that runners get injured is because their bodies are unprepared to handle the physical demands of the activity. Tissue overload then occurs, either because of a sudden introduction to the sport, or a relatively sudden change or increase in training mileage or intensity (like hill repeats).
When it comes to building an injury-resistant body, this analogy is useful, “Don’t let your engine outpace your chassis”, meaning don’t let your aerobic fitness (endurance built up by running) outpace your structural fitness (bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles).
If you do, you’re setting yourself up for injury.
In fact, runners need weight training even more than you may realise. Strength work accomplishes three big goals for runners:
1. Prevent injuries by strengthening muscles and connective tissues, to better handle the loads while running.
2. Run faster by improving neuromuscular (nerve-muscle) coordination and power.
3. Improve running economy by encouraging coordination and stride efficiency. Improving your upper-body strength can also boost your running efficiency. With a stronger core, you’ll be able to maintain a stable upper body, minimising side-to-side movement – and better hold your form at the end of a run when you begin to tire. And by developing strength in your arms, you’ll improve your arm drive so you can inject more power into your stride, especially uphill.
That’s why we’ve put together a set of resources to help you introduce some strength training into your running programme, as well as explain why and how it can help.
You can download the full set of resources, including an exercise programme, top tips for running-specific strength training, a myth-buster sheet and an infographic giving strength-training guidance, at this link.
As usual, if you have any concerns or questions on this topic, please feel free to get in contact with us either directly or through our website or social media channels.
We’re here to help.
And please feel free to share the link to this blog post with anyone you think can benefit from these resources.