Most runners nowadays recognise the importance of strength training to their running success.
Strength training is a great supplement to your roadwork since it strengthens your muscles and joints. Strengthening these muscles and joints corrects muscle imbalances and weaknesses that are common in modern life, and consequently improves your race times and decreases injury risk. (Seems like a win win situation!)
If you want to perform at your full potential, targeting areas of fitness you may not normally pay attention to, such as flexibility, balance, mobility, and strength will aid in your running success. This applies particularly to people who have started running as adults and whose non-running hours include a lot of sitting.
Incorporating strength training into your running regimen can be a difficult thing to achieve, especially if you are running 5-6 times a week. But I would highly suggest adding at least one strength training set into your weekly routine. And you may surprise yourself on how much you actually enjoy it!
Some fun strength training suggestions that we’d suggest:
Take a crossfit or grid class if you’re unsure about how to strength train on your own.
Adopt a flexibility- and strength-building routine by practicing Pilates or yoga. You can even do this at home! There are so many home DVDs you can use.
Run a trail course.
Try cycling, spinning at the gym, or swimming to improve strength and flexibility.
Other more conventional strength exercises include planking, squats and lunges that will strengthen your core, quads and hamstrings.
If you need any further help on these strength exercises, give Steph a call! Her personal training experise will help you with the right exercises for your body and training programme.
If I asked you what running success is, what would you say? Let me share one of the biggest ways you can be a running success….
So much to running is consistency. We’re all for good breaks after big events, but inconsistent running after a short scheduled break, does absolutely nothing for your running.
Running is so different to other endurance sports in that it relies heavily on both weight bearing form and economical motion. The only efficient way to optimize your form and economical motion is through time and constant practice.
At the same time, intensity can cause injuries where you will have to go back to the drawing board, and start all over again. This is why it is so important that when you start with your quality sessions that you do so slowly and cautiously. (And this is also why you need proper personalised training programmes).
Here are some tried and tested ways to keep you running more consistently and faster!
While you consider yourself a runner, trying something new often nurtures running consistency. Try running on a trail, or a cross-country event, or even a triathlon. This will mix your running up a but keeping you consistent.
Take a break
Top runners view their training year as a mountain range: it has peaks (intense training periods) and valleys (recovery and rest periods where they can build up to their next training period). For healthy, consistent training, your body needs regular recovery periods – you cannot run the whole year at intense training levels. You need to allow your body to rest, and recover. But in the recovery, don’t become sedentary: do gym classes or take up cross training. Keep moving.
Keep a running log
Your training log is a great source of the kind of motivation that builds consistency. A training log keeps your mind focussed; it reveals from where you have come; it encourages you and; it keeps you consistent!
There is something about entering races, marathons in particular, that ‘scare’ people into training the way they should. It also builds a sense of community, and we know how running with people builds and encourages consistency!
Go back to basics and schedule your runs.
Are you a consistent runner? Tell us the ways you keep your running consistent.
On Monday 20 May 1991 East Londoners woke up, toddled outside to collect their favourite early morning read to the front door, turned to the sports pages which splashed the news that yet another World Half Marathon best had been delivered on one of Africa’s fastest courses.
“Meyer sets new world record in East London” appeared on the Daily Dispatch front page too.
It continued “Elana Meyer smashed Norwegian Ingrid Kristiansen’s world record for the half marathon by 32 seconds in winning the SA Championships in a time of 67:59.”
The Legends Marathon under the leadership of Luthando Bara, has quite correctly identified this and the feats of the men in 1987, when they set a world best of 60:11, as befitting of legendary status and that the men and women involved should be remembered with great pride.
As with all great and historical moments there are folk who perhaps do not quite get it and for those who were not there it probably all seems a little surreal.
The fact that no male or female has ever run faster on African soil than at these two outstanding races is something East London, Buffalo City and South Africa should embrace.
The one race took place 30 and the other 26 years ago.
Furthermore it was pretty much the same team that organised both races, with the implicit vision of delivering world records. It did not happen by chance, it was plotted and planned for. Most club level race organisers would have difficulty getting their minds around these outcomes due to the enormity of the effort. A number of the folk who were involved then are either passed on, or retired totally from the humdrum of the sport.
On 24 September when these two fantastic races are celebrated and a host of athletes held in high esteem for world beating, ground breaking performances we might also take a step back and doff our caps to those of Border and South African Road Running, along with the sponsors of the day, that made it all possible and then watched the athletes make it happen.
Athletes that included Matthews Temane, Zithulele Sinqe, Xolile Yawa, Jan Tau, Ernest Tjele, Simon Meli, David Tsebe, Willie Mtolo and our own Mzwandile Shube the first junior home in a new SA Record in 1987.
Running with Meyer in 1991 were Colleen de Reuck who was the SA record holder until that day, Ronel Scheepers, Blanche Moila, Sonja Laxton, Grace de Oliviera, Monica Drogemoller, Gwen van Rensburg and Border’s Lizanne Holmes amongst so many others.
It has been said, often by folk who were not there, that the course for the Legends 60:11 differs from the one used in 1987, as though that somehow discounts the fact that SA’s best ran those times in perfect conditions on that particular day – and by design. And then the women followed suit on a similar, though not identical route four years later. The one that IS being used for Legends.
The men on the day Elana Meyer stole the show were led home by Lawrence Peu, himself a fantastic athlete. Peu ran a PB 60:58, which at that stage was just 12 seconds off the best time run internationally for a half marathon, though no one had come close to Temane’s time of 60:11.
It is to that time that homage is being paid. Neither Meyer nor Peu featured in the 1987 race and the women’s version was won by Colleen de Reuck in 73:42.
So which course was faster? The men were 47 seconds slower on the latter one and the women were 5min 43 seconds quicker in 1991 than they were in 1987.
We spoke to a local man, who chooses not to be named, but who has firsthand knowledge of all the athletes involved, both courses, the weather conditions on the two days in question and perhaps most importantly the marketing and hype associated with the two races. He says “on the day the results delivered at both events were achieved by desire. Not of just the athletes, but from all involved in the staging and delivery of two world class events that Buffalo City can be immensely proud of.
It’s a sure way to induce fear and dread into every athlete. It’s tough. It’s gruelling. And it makes you hungrier than ever! As tough as hill training is, it is one of the best things you can include into your training programme.
In 2015, a study was published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. This study had a group of runners perform six weeks of high-intensity uphill running intervals. The results were astonishing: their running economy improved and their 5km Time Trial times were 2 percent faster. 2 percent may not sound like a lot, but it is enough to take 30-40 seconds off your time. Now that sounds like a lot more, yes?
Here are some further benefits of hill training:
Builds upper body strength. Pushing uphill forces you to pump your arms harder which develops strength as well as efficient arm carriage.
Prevents injury. The strength you develop on the hills strengthens your leg muscles and tendons, which reduces your risk of developing shin splints as it alleviates stress placed on your shins.
Help increase your endurance. By gradually increasing the inclines on your runs every few weeks, you’ll be surprised how even the steepest hills become no match for your swift feet.
Helps increase your speed. The muscle and tendon strength you develop helps build your speed.
Are you convinced yet? Incorporate hill training into you running strategy slowly, starting with lower inclines and gradually over a number of weeks increasing the incline.
If you need any assistance on how to include hill training into your programme, give us a call. We will make sure that you do it properly and under guidance.