Can an endurance athlete benefit from resistance training?

June 15 | Posted by The Staff | Tips

Everyone’s heard that old adage if you want to get better at something just keep practicing it. By this same rationale one could ascertain that you would get better at running by simply running more often. Seems reasonable, but running stresses some muscles more than others, thus offering thousands of repetitions of strength and coordination to one set of muscles, while the others are neglected. This eventually leads to injury, which is the biggest hindrance of progress in any sport.

How can resistance training help this? Resistance training helps because it allows you to strengthen and condition parts of your body that are not activated in your given sport. Having a balanced, strong, flexible body is the key to staying healthy. If the front of your leg (quadriceps) is stronger than the back of your leg (hamstrings) you are going to start to get injuries to your knee/hip/lower back. This scenario is common amongst marathon runners.

Adding resistance training to your routine is a great way to balance your strength and keep you from injuries. This is known as cross training, and is used in virtually every sport in the world. The best way to succeed may be to practice, but you cannot practice if you are injured.

Adding a resistance training routine to an endurance athletes training schedule can be tricky. I find that it is better to train harder and more frequently when you are a few months from a race/event and taper it down as it grows closer. Try to avoid training legs the day before long runs/rides/etc. I usually try to have my clients do them with at least 2 to 3 days of rest before they have to use their legs for training.

If you have additional questions or need help creating a routine for your training schedule contact me at

Greg Faunce

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