How Runners can Benefit from the Gym
Written By: SportsShoes
We all know that the best way for runners to improve is with regular, consistent running. That said, the importance of gym work for runners is often overlooked. By mixing up their running drills with training in the gym, runners can build stronger, faster, more efficient bodies to boost their running performance – and that includes the pros too.
We caught up with New Balance athletes Ross Millington and Jonny Mellor to find out how gym work forms an integral part of their training.
Firstly, why should runners be going to the gym?
Integrating training in the gym with running can reap serious benefits for runners. Building muscular strength and improving overall body conditioning will result in improved performance, technique and a corresponding reduced risk of injury:
Stronger, more powerful muscles
By targeting key muscle groups with strength training, runners can boost muscle strength and explosive muscle force. That can include work with free weights such as weighted lunges and squats or plyometric exercises such as box jumps and burpees that focus on fast dynamic movements and engage maximum force. The result? More power, efficiency and explosive speed.
Overall body conditioning & better running technique
Running targets specific muscle groups, such as the calves and quads rather than conditioning the body as a whole. Exercises that engage and condition different muscle groups help build overall strength and endurance, which in turn boosts running form and technique. For example, exercises to build core strength improve balance and stability in the torso which helps running form. This is particularly helpful for runners at the late stages of races when fatigue sets in and running technique starts to suffer.
Reduced risk of injury
It follows from all of this that stronger muscles, improved capacity for speed and endurance and better running form means a reduced risk of injury. What’s more, when in injury rehab, the gym can be a great option for low impact cardio to help sustain fitness.
How do the New Balance pro’s train?
Elite athletes Ross Millington and Jonny Mellor form part of team New Balance MCR – an initiative supporting a professional team of runners, enabling them to compete fully supported at their peak in each of their disciplines. The project supports the athletes as they live and train together under the guidance of top international coach, Steve Vernon and with full kit support from New Balance. We caught up with Jonny and Ross to find out more about how working out in the gym benefits their training.