Ever got to the end of a race and your heart and lungs have felt great, but your legs just wouldn't work? Have you found on a long run your legs just won't turn over? Want to get faster? If you've answered yes to any of these questions (and possibly all three) then you need to understand Strength & Conditioning a bit more, and see how it can improve you as a runner.
Why bother? I just need to run more.
It's an argument we hear all the time, and yes, if you want to get better at running you are going to need to run, but wherever you are at in your running journey S&C work is ESSENTIAL! Not only has it been shown to improve your performance, by working on your basic movement skills and the bodies physical capacity, you'll be able to run more!
Trust us, if you aren't doing any S&C work, you are not maximising your potential as an athlete.
We have split Strength and Conditioning up into two sections, as we feel that although they have a lot of crossover, you are doing 2 different things, and it should be easier to understand.
Lets talk first about Strength. For us, we want to think of strength as the amount of force or pressure a muscle group can produce. To run quickly, we need to produce a large mount of force against the ground (in a very short period of time!).
There are 4 types of strength, Maxium, Relative, Explosive and Reactive. As a runner, we want to focus on Relative Strength rather than Maximum Strength. Relative strength is the maximum force you can generate per kg of body weight. We need to look at both Reactive Strength and Explosive Strength. Explosive Strength will encourage you to leave the ground with a high amount of force over a very short period of time, and Reactive Strength allows you to use the elastic properties of tendons and connective tissue to produce force.
If that is strength training, then what is conditioning? We look at Conditioning as exercises that condition the body to be fit for purpose (to run!). Under conditioning we have:
Stretching & Mobility Work
Capacity Building Exercises for muscle groups (Core, Calf, Hamstring and Glutes)
It is a huge area but hopefully we can help you navigate it a bit more.
What is key to remember with Strength and Conditioning work is we are all unique, and have different needs. Just because you've seen a routine that an elite athlete does, doesn't mean it is appropriate for you (most of the time the exercises they are suggesting are so advanced you are just going to fail to do them correctly). You need to know your strengths and weakness and have a routine that is designed to work on them.
As part of a one to one session, we can do an S&C assessment. We put you through a number of exercises, see how you perform them and can build you an S&C programme designed for you. If you are interested then please drop us an email.