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|Subject: ||RE: Jay Johnson - Question about Routines & Strength Training|
If you want actual research go to http://www.pubmed.com and type: strength training distance runners.
The question isn't can it be effective, the question is do you have the time for it to be effective.
For a marathoner only running 50 miles a week due to lack of motivation then that person just needs to train more. For the marathoner not putting in the volume and intensity of training he needs to do because of injury THAT person NEEDS strength training. For the marathoner putting in the volume and intensity AND has the time to do it THAT person also NEEDS strength training.
Provided it does not interfere with your athletic skill practice, be it running, basketball, baseball, football, etc, strength training will provide many many benefits. The problem with the majority of athletes isn't a lack of strength training it is a lack of skill practice. For basketball, baseball, football, etc that is typically just time on the field practicing your sport. For distance runners that is simply time on the road or on the track running hard.
Sometimes the simpliest answer is the most correct one.
I can attest to the utility of adding appropriate strength training to any running program. I also think your last sentence gets my vote for Quote of the Day: sometimes the simplest answer IS the most correct one.
I'm currently rehabbing a hamstring strain that occurred during a race about 6 wks ago--I was running a half marathon at marathon pace for the purpose of getting in a solid tempo effort and practice having folks around me while running at a solid effort. To make a long story short, during the 8th mile my hamstring pulled hard and actually felt like I was going to fall down (I lost all stability/mobility in one moment!). I limped through another mile and half and decided to stop and at that moment focus on rehab so I could be better. Having had SEVERAL hamstring strains (and achilles, hip, and calf problems), the first question that came to mind was "why in the hell does this keep happening?" The second question (a very smart one in retrospect) was "when did I begin having these dang soft tissue problems". The answer was so simple it was stupid: After running in college (and being under a coach that swore by strength training--2-3x a week at most for us distance runners) I dropped ALL strength/gym training and jacked up my mileage from mid-70's to low-100's. This was after having 3 solid years of injury-free running and PRing from the 800 to the 10k, feeling lean and NEVER getting hurt. Now I don't think it was the increase in mileage that initially caused the soft tissue problems, I think it was the combination of increasing mileage by 30 miles a week in a matter of 4 wks and decreasing (ceasing) all supplemental resistance training which was, in retrospect, the one thing that help me maintain STRONG, FLEXIBLE, and well-conditioned NEUROMUSCULAR soft tissues (hamstrings, calves, etc). Within 4 months, after neglecting the range of motion/strengthening work outside of running, I developed WEAK, TIGHT, HARDENED (scar tissue) muscles that were very prone to injury. I pulled my hamstring during a tempo run that fall and have had a strain every year since.
Since the strain 6 wks ago, I finally learned from my past mistakes and have been in the gym diligently for the first time in 8 years. The last time I strained my hamstring, I was out for 14 MONTHS and felt like my running career was officially over. I was a mental wreck and was probably clinically depressed. However, after 6 wks of focusing on doing the APPROPRIATE and CONSISTENT work in the gym and doing the right stuff at home (stretching, ADDITIONAL core work, compression, elevation, stick, massage, ice) I'm running every other day 40 minutes on the treadmill (taking it slow, controlled, and careful). I'm also seeing a chiropractor regularly, getting my hips readjusted, ultrasound, and e-stim to help speed the healing/treat any imbalances that has occurred after running high mileage for years with tight, short muscles that were constantly pulling my hips, joints, tendons, and back all over the place (that actually caused the past achilles/calf problems as well). My step has a lot more "pop" to it, I'm running lighter, straighter (very little wasted movements), and feel a lot more economical. As I get healthier and resume training (hopefully for a solid fall 10k on the roads), I've decided to use my extra time to not put in more miles but to stay in the gym working on general strength exercises to supplement my 60-70 mpw. I know running 100+ miles work...I'm living proof. But I'd rather run 60-70 and stay healthy and race rather than continue this cycle of train 4 months, rehab 14 months from the recurrent soft tissue problems. Wish me luck and I apologize for the long post.
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