Weight up ahead of race season
“However, both can gain a huge amount from cross training in their off season.
“I would recommend that a runner finds some sort of resistance exercise, whether it be a circuit class or something similar, that they enjoy and perform this during the winter and phase in their running as the season approaches. They can work on developing their strength, upper body strength, speed work and the like in the off season and maintain it within the season.”
What’s the biggest mistake runners make when introducing a weights programme?
“Personally, I see it as not seeking guidance,” says O’Sullivan. “They may come in with a friend and think that one programme works for all. Weight training should be specific to the individual.
“A soccer player will not necessarily train in the same way a rugby player does, a sprinter will not train in the same way as an endurance athlete, so prior to making mistakes while performing the wrong exercises, speaking to an expert is essential.”
Three basic weight exercises for runners . . .
. . . assuming that the athletes have no injuries and that the exercises are being performed correctly:
Squat:The squat is as close to the complete exercise resistance training can offer.
Common faults with performing this exercise will be tightness in the hip flexors, calves, restricting one’s movement and not allowing the full range of movement. Knee alignment is crucial.
It is essential that when undertaking this exercise that you are well guided and the instructor is satisfied with your execution of it.
The plank:Although technically not a specific weight-training exercise, it is considered resistance training and again when performed correctly it is hugely beneficial to the core muscles, which are essential for long-distance running. Common faults with this are that people “just dont get it”.
They lie prone on the floor leaning on their elbows and toes, and fail to engage the core.
One should be able to brace their stomach, by pulling their stomach in, not holding their breath, squeeze the glutes and hold the back straight.
A certain amount of guidance is needed here and should be requested. Performing this incorrectly is a waste of training time, so if doing it, do it right, seek instruction, guidance and reassurance that you have it right.
A row:I would always recommend some back work as it is hugely relevant to endurance running.
Having a strong back allows runners to keep their chest tall and open it up as they fatigue as opposed to closing in on yourself and restricting your breathing.
It also helps to keep you upright all day, so really a no brainer. There are a number of different “row” exercises such as: mid row; low row; bent over row; prone row. Again seek guidance when looking to perform this exercise.