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There are a lot of different reasons why a well-rounded strength training program is important for a trail runner and ultrarunner. To avoid strength training workouts for fear or stress, will affect our body and muscle weakness. Here is why lifting, and heavy lifting, are super-efficient for trail runners and road runners.




Weekly schedule of strength training is important for all endurance athletes to reach their full potential. Ideally, easy, medium and hard weeks should be alternated as part of a comprehensive training plan. Intensity training and volume play a role in defining whether a training week is generally easy or hard. Just like volume and intensity, strength training should also be added to our schedule. Heavy lifting, or powerlifting, is considered hard and should not be done all the time. Just like with our running, strength training should have endurance (easy), strength (medium) and power (hard) phases. Heavy lifting should be done during lower volume and/or lower intensity running weeks for the body to absorb the training and not risk injury. Powerlifting requires constant attention to form to avoid injury, so we want to be as well-rested as possible when performing those moves.




This is a no-brainer. The strength that is needed to not only run up, but also run down mountains is huge. The forces that are generated during an ultramarathon greatly exceed our body weight. On its own, running does not build the muscle tissue needed to handle these forces over long periods of time. Powerlifting can also help us develop better muscle strength, which will help when the hammer drops in a race. Also, there has been some good research that shows that people maintain their fitness longer and easier if they strength train, even when their kilometres drops.




As we get stronger and our muscles grow in cross sectional volume (hypertrophy), there is a marked decrease in injury rates. The muscle abs and core can deliver and absorb higher forces instead of shifting them onto our joints, and the muscle can do that through many more cycles, further decreasing the risk of tissue damage. The tendons also thicken with heavy lifting, making them less susceptible to damage. Runners would be able to run injury-free if they were only stronger. All of these factors are magnified exponentially when running an ultramarathon. The repetitive demands we place on our body on the hardest of terrain can only lead to trouble if we are not strong enough.


Unfortunately, so many runners are constantly suffering from fear of missing out and the need to train hard, long and fast, all the time. This already has led to high-injury rates, over-training syndromes and eating disorders that affect so many runners. If we are already over-trained, adding heavy lifting to our routine might have detrimental effects on our body, as we are already at our limit and this will just add more strain to an already overtaxed system. Also, if we have never lifted heavy before, I recommend to make sure that the weight you are using is appropriate according to your body type, your form and how your body feels.


A common good recommendation for ultrarunners is lifting heavy, as long as it is part of a well-rounded training program, according to how your body feels, and proper form is being used. Performing some regular weekly good strength workouts according to our body, good muscle strength results and general enjoyment of running will all benefit and support our good trail and road runs.


Perform Some Weekly Good Strength Workouts, Feel Better, Stronger, And Healthier, Enjoy Some Much Nicer Long-Distance Trail Or Road Runs!


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