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A Weight Lifting Program For The Distance Runner

Weight Lifting Books for Runners

Most people look at the distance runners they see competing in high profile events such as the Olympics and well known marathons and are simply amazed at how these seemingly petite runners can sustain the speeds they do over the course of long distance events. The size of these runners causes many to incorrectly assume these runners must not incorporate any weight training exercise into their training program. However, this is usually not the case. Weight training can be very helpful in helping distance runner to improve their overall performance. However, it is important to note the type of weight training performed by these runners is significantly different than the weight training performed by sprinters and is even likely different than the weight training done by those who lift weight for the health benefits gained by doing so. The weight lifting required by distance runners to help them achieve their training goals is actually quite specialized. This article will take a look at some of the aspects of weight lifting which are fairly unique to distance runners.

First consider the standard weight lifting effort performed by exercise enthusiasts who are seeking to lose weight, gain muscle mass and improve their overall health. For these athletes, weight lifting typically involves doing 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions of each exercise with a weight which is sufficiently heavy enough for the athlete to be fatigued by the last couple of reps of each set and to reach exhaustion by the last couple of reps of the final set. This type of weight training is ideal for moderate muscle growth and is excellent for helping to delay bone loss which usually occurs with age.

Now consider the standard weight lifting effort performed by those who participate in body building competitions. These athletes are focused on massive muscle gains and the workouts they perform are designed specifically for this purpose. These weight lifters may still perform 2-3 sets of each exercise but may only do 2-3 reps in each set. These reps are typically done with a substantially heavier weight than would likely be used by the average athlete. This weight is usually heavy enough for the athlete to experience fatigue after only a couple of reps. This type of intense weight lifting combined with the consumption of massive quantities of protein helps to promote large amounts of muscle growth.

Those who reading this article are probably at least somewhat familiar with each of the scenarios listed above. Most people probably witness others performing these types of activities every time they set foot in their gym’s weight room. However, neither of the scenarios listed above adequately describes the way in which distance runners utilize the weight room to gain improved strength. When a distance runner enters a weight room, his focus should be on sustaining a weight lifting effort for a long period of time. It is not uncommon for distance runners to do in excess of 20 reps for each set they perform. These reps should be done with good form and using a weight which is light enough for the runner to complete the entire set. Some distance runners even choose to do a particular exercise for a set period of time as opposed to for a set number of reps. This allows the runner to focus on his form as opposed to counting reps during the workout.

Another practice which is common for distance runners in the weight room is to do a lot of exercises which more active in nature. This includes exercises such as weighted lunges. These exercises are ideal for runners because they directly engage the muscles used by runners when running. In performing these exercises the runner should position himself in front of a mirror and should make a conscious effort to maintain proper form throughout the duration of the exercise. This will not only help the runner to improve his physical strength but will also help to prevent injuries which often accompany poor form in the weight room.

Finally, distance runners may want to consider the use of equipment such as bands and weighted balls when doing their strength training. These pieces of equipment come in a variety of different weights and distance levels. However, the majority of these products are relatively lightweight in nature. There may be some resistance bands which provide a significant amount of resistance or some weighted balls which are particularly heavy but most of these products are mild enough to be sufficient for the purposes of a distance runner. Additionally, items such as resistance bands are ideal for any athlete that travels often. These bands are lightweight and easy to pack in a suitcase making it easy for the athlete to pack these products and take them on business trips and vacations. Another appeal of resistance bands is the resistance level can usually be modified pretty easily. In the case of most resistance bands this occurs simply by changing your grip on the resistance band so that you are pulling closer to the point in which the band is being held.


The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.

Running Stretches and Running Tips

Click Here to view the DVD.

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