Why Endurance Athletes Should Do Strength Training All Year LONG!!
Strength training for endurance athletes!? Many of you will be thinking why should I do that? I should just be swimming, cycling & running surely? But my question to you, why do you think that? Why aren't you doing strength training? Without a doubt, a progressive & strategic year round strength program could be the key to turning a personal best, into a unbelievable PB. It's also a critical ingredient for maintaining heath, preventing injuries and making constant seasonal progress.
Still not convinced?? Well here's a deeper dive into why you should with my 4 main reasons...
Become Resilient! Resilient seems to have become the buzz word in 2020, but for good reason! Strength training aids the physical preparation for you body to bare the stresses of sport specific training. In endurance training, there's a lot of repetition, this generates lots of physical stress over time which highlights the importance of having strong muscles, bones, tendons & ligaments to allow you to sustain that stress over time. So through a well thought out, progressive strength program, you'll become more resilient as a result.
Improve Fundamental Movements! Many of us simply do not have perfect movement patterns to begin and why would we? Many of us have never been taught how to move properly. These movement patterns become even harder to achieve the harder we push ourselves due to restrictions our body places on ourselves. Most injuries to endurance sport athletes are usually "OVERUSE" injuries. This is a result of repeating certain movement patterns on a regular basis just a little wrong, repeated many times over hours, days, weeks, months and even years! (This is also why technique is really important!) They can appear to arrive out of nowhere but the damage will have been done repeatedly over a period of time. So if strength training is done properly, it will aid in improving movement patterns as well as help remove many of those small but frequent stress on the muscles, tendons and joints that can lead to something more serious over time.
Gets you race ready! In preparation, race day will the most physically damanding day of your training cycle. It takes smart training and preparation to show up injury free, healthy and ready to perform at the level you are capable of doing. You'll be surprised but many athletes do not achieve this. In order to do this you need to have strong muscles in order to cope with the demands of the day.
YOU BECOME FASTER! The one we all wanted to hear but it's the truth, appropriate strength & conditioning will make you a faster athlete, that is a guarantee!! Using strength, mobility, stability and correct movement patterns constantly, day after day, month after month, year after year, will allow you to go harder, for longer and faster! If you do all this and assuming everything else is done correctly too, you will race faster 100%...that's a promise!
So as a result, I challenge you to view strength training differently. Not just as a add on or a injury prevention tool, but as a key session that allows us to consistently enhance our yearly endurance training. It's one of the many ingredients that we need and if we look at things as a long term development, you will start to see massive benefits that will serve you will in training, racing and in health!
PS. This is even more important for senior athletes who are 40+ but more of that another time...
Thanks for reading, would love to hear your thoughts