For someone who is an avid runner, it often surprises people to find out that I’m into weightlifting and resistance training too. For me, the two go hand in hand and I still don’t know why lots of runners shy away from heavy weight training. The benefits are endless, it’ll make you a more efficient runner and it can actually help prevent running injuries too.
I’ve recently discovered CrossFit and I’ve started to add WODs (workout of the day) to my weekly training routine. Weight training and CrossFit conditions your body to generate power and if you’re chasing down PB’s, having a body that generates power is half the battle won. Call it CrossFit for runners. Here is how training helps me to become a better runner and how you can become better at running too.
One of the biggest benefits of CrossFit for runners is muscle endurance. Sometimes you have to lift a weight again and again, and it feels like eternity has passed before someone shouts “time”. Whether you’re a sprinter or a middle-long distance runner, having good muscular endurance will help you to “hold on” a little bit longer. We have two types of muscle fibres, slow and fast twitch and your muscular endurance depends on how developed your slow twitch muscles are. Slow twitch muscles can’t develop the amount of power that fast twitch muscles do, but they’re the ones that help you to hold on and fight off fatigue just a little bit longer
Exercises to help build muscular endurance: (note: Lift a little bit lighter than you usually would but increase your rep count)
CrossFit for runners muscular endurance WODs: Find a list of all WODS here
It goes without saying, the more strength you have the less likely you are to become injured. But when I say strong, I don’t just mean strong legs. I’m talking a strong body and especially your core. Have you ever woken up from a sprint session to find that you’re abs are on fire? Your arms and legs may be seem to be the only muscles used in running but they stem from your core, which is why you need a firm one. It will help to improve your balance and help you to maintain your form towards the end of a hard run. We’ve all been there. When the lactic acid starts to kick in and suddenly your arms are swaying and your legs start to drag. Having a strong core will help you to maintain your form when lactic acid hits, reducing the risk of injury.
Exercises to help with core strength:
-Overhead walking lunge
CrossFit for runners core WODs: Find a list of all WODS here
The reality is, you can’t run every day, so you need to find other ways to maintain your cardiovascular fitness whilst giving your legs a break from running. This is known as cross training and for me, one of the best ways to maintain my fitness is do a HIIT workout or a WOD. HIIT circuits can include weights or just be purely body weight. And the same applies to cross fit too. WODs fire up your heart rate and the lack of rest in-between rounds helps you to become fitter. These kind of workouts torch fat too.
Exercises to help maintain your cardiovascular fitness:
CrossFit for runners Cardiovascular fitness WODs: Find a list of all WODS here
There are of course more exercises and WODs that you can do to help improve your cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance and core strength but I have just pulled out a few that I use in my training to help me to become a better runner. I love running but nothing feels quite as satisfying as ripping a weight off a platform. Resistance training also helps to sculpt your body and the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns.
Let me know your thoughts on CrossFit for runners and if you have any exercises that you do to help you to become a better runner.