Are You Strength Training the Right Way?

Winter running season is also known as off-season for most of us. We take a break from the heavy mileage, as least for a few weeks/months, and hit the weights and our favorite cross-training workouts.

Snow thanks, I'll spin.

Snow thanks, I’ll spin.

And hitting the weights should be your TOP priority during the off season. But are you doing it right?

I’m sore for 3 or 4 days after I lift. That’s good, right?

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Stop that right now. Soreness is due to microtears in the muscle fibers due to challenging the muscle either with more weight or a different movement. This is normally a good thing that allows for growth of the muscle. BUUUUUUUT, when normal soreness is 24-48 hours. After that, it’s not soreness, it’s muscular necrosis (dead tissue).

The danger of doing this? Rhabdomyolysis, which is basically poisoning your kidneys with the chemicals your dying tissue releases. Can permanently damage your kidneys and put you in the ICU.

DANGER Will Robinson.

Challenging your body is good, just don’t go overboard.

I strength train once a week. That’s enough.

No, it’s not. I’ve discussed de-training here before but it had more to do with aerobic capacity. Power and strength are a little different, but the bottom line is you need to strength train every 3-4 days (2-3 times/week) to make and maintain strength gains. Otherwise, it’s a brand new to your muscles every week.

Weights are your friend. Get to know them.

Weights are your friend. Get to know them.

I don’t lift heavy weights because it’s going to make me bulk up.

I can’t even with this. Every health and fitness magazine in the world has an article of why this isn’t true. I don’t need to belabor the point. It’s just true, ok?

I run. I don’t need to lift. Running makes my legs strong.

…said every runner who then ended up with an injury due to strength defects. Look, it’s all about strength, symmetry, and stability. Long distance running does not promote any of these things because it’s unidirectional and repetitive. Sprinting or hill workouts can definitely help, but you have to do them right.

Don't be this guy (Image courtesy of vector.rs)

Get strong before you go long.
(Image courtesy of vector.rs)

Focused, functional movements on multiple planes with challenging weights is how you get stronger.

I hope this helps as you head into your off season!

Now go out and run.