Injury. Not running. Frustration.

Or not.

10 days ago I pulled a muscle in hockey and have not been able to run. I have used this time of injury and no-running to focus more on my strength and conditioning, instead of letting myself get frustrated.

There are many benefits of strength and conditioning for trail runners:

  • Improved exercise economy
  • Improved anaerobic capacity
  • Decrease fatigue
  • Increased maximal strength
  • Increased maximal speed
  • Increased endurance performance
  • Increased rate of force development
  • Improved agility, proprioception and balance

Tissue Response to Strength Work

How does the tissue respond to strength work?

  • There are changes in muscle with increased strength, increased rate of force development, change in fibre type, increased neural drive and activation and increased load capacity.
  • Improved strength and flexibility with eccentric loading to increase range of movement

The LOAD needs to be appropriate for the GOAL:

  • If the goal is to improve strength, moderate to high load, with control, is needed
  • If the goal is control, low load with emphasis on movement quality

Tips For Starting Strength Training

Andy, my biokineticist, always pushes me to do that extra set and tailors my programs specifically for me as a trail runner.

Tips for starting out with a strength and conditioning program:

  • Start slowly. Choose a few – 3 to 5 – key exercises to work on and consistency is vital.
  • Only 20 minutes needed 3 times a week to maintain benefits of strength exercises.
  • Important that a strong foundation is built with basic balance and single leg control
  • The key with training is strength and conditioning first, then progress to plyometrics so that a solid base is built on. Plyometrics = strength + power, your bounding type activities, eg. hopping.

And lastly, Strength and Conditioning is fun and challenges your body in a different way. So if you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go. You will soon see the benefits while on the trails. Check out my blog on how to supplement your diet to further boost your training.

What key exercises have you found most beneficial as a trail runner? Share your exercises with us by leaving your comments below.