Strength training for the big race

Parkview Sports Medicine Performance Specialist, Tyler Palmer, MA, CSCS, has spent time helping Parkview Health co-workers train for Fort4Fitness. He shared his thoughts on preparing for the race and how to prevent injury as you train.

As Fort4Fitness approaches (September 27-28), you might be looking to take your training up a notch and ensure you’re in shape for the event. The reality is, most people don’t need to run to get in shape – they need to get in shape to run. In addition to following a proper running regimen, runners should perform bodyweight strength training and a series of other exercises to increase mobility, stability, balance, coordination and flexibility. This training is essential for enjoying your run and preventing injury.

Bodyweight strength training, also known as relative strength, is how strong a person is in relation to their size. Why does this matter when you’re training for a race?

The Saucony shoe company completed a study that looked at the forces produced through the foot during running. The study showed that humans, on average, put upwards of three times their body weight on their feet with each step. This number can increase up to seven times their body weight depending on the speed they’re running! For someone who weighs 150 lbs., that could mean they’re generating 450 - 1,000 lbs. of force per step.

Think about the practical implications of this. The average person will take about 6,000 steps in a 5k at a brisk walk/moderate jog. If they’re unable to do a simple bodyweight squat or bodyweight lunge, how long will they be able to run until they breakdown with an injury?

In order to maximize your performance and decrease risk of injury when it comes to long distance running, it’s extremely important to include some form of relative bodyweight strength training in your weekly routine.

PSM Performance has organized videos with a variety of running warm-ups and dynamic exercises to help you prepare to run your best. The exercises can be performed by any runner preparing for their race. Each includes demonstrations, number of repetitions and more. You’ll be able to watch and decide which works best for you.


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