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Guest Post: Colin Allan – GET STRONGER, RUN LONGER

Colin Allan is a professional rugby-player-turned-PT and performance coach, with a specialist interest in hyper-tailored training and nutrition. Enertor have teamed up with Colin to bring you professional advice on all things fitness. In this post, Colin talks us through why strength training plays an important part in improving our running... As some one who has lifted weights since he was 14 years old i am a big advocate of the benefits of strength training for all.  For collision sport athletes, where increased muscle mass, strength and power are prerequisites, but also for runners, recreational athletes of all disciplines and the general population. The three most common objections to weight training from both a 'sedentary' and a performance point of view are typically:
  • I don't want to bulk up
  • it will slow me down
  • it will make me less flexible
Let’s quickly go through these. - Bulking up or adding muscle mass is often a key reason as to why people initiate a resistance training program. If you are combining your weights with running your energy will be going into recovering from your run rather than building muscle.  Adding mass also requires paying huge attention to what you’re eating and avoiding the booze in order to optimise testosterone and recover from the stress of training and daily stresses. The bottom line is unless getting bigger is your primary objective it’s not going to happen unless you are untrained, young and have a genetic predisposition to bulking up. - As for making you slower, strength training (when performed correctly) has been shown to increase vertical jump and speed. A recent scientific review on strength training in running and cycling* shows that strength training can improve exercise economy, lactate threshold, maximal speed, anaerobic capacity along with reduced or delayed fatigue. It has also been shown to reduce common injuries including shin splints, stress fractures and runners knee by between 50% and 67%. Injuries occur when tissues are exposed to excessive loading (or training) so to minimise the risk of injuries we can do two things, manipulate how much training we do and strengthen the tissues. - Lastly, making you less flexible… just not true. If you perform large compound exercises, ie those that cross multiple joints, perform them through a full range of movement focusing on correct form they will improve joint mobility. It should be noted that any exercise programme if not accompanied by adequate recovery and stretching can impact negatively on flexibility and mobility. The next step is to start doing some. Below is a fairly straight forward session and a gym instructor will be able to take you through it. Alternatively a full-trained personal trainer (cough ;-)) can take you through a workout designed specifically to your needs and ensure that you are technically on point. Two to three months of work can be a great investment and can be structured so it’s financially manageable**. If you have some gym experience below is a session requiring a minimum of equipment, keep the weight light and master the movement first, adding more weight week on week and remember: movements not muscles. Perform this session twice per week for 4 weeks. For your warm up include 3mins of skipping, there are few exercises better to improve your posture, running efficiency and strengthen the structures of the feet and lower legs. Complete 5 reps of each exercise performing each pair of exercises as a superset with 90 seconds rest between sets and 2 mins between supersets. Super Set 1 (repeat 4 times) - Back Squat and Press Up Super Set 2 (repeat 4 times) - Pull Ups/Lat Pulldown and Forward Lunge Super Set 3(repeat 4 times) Romanian Deadlift/Hip Hinge and Dips   Get Stronger Run Longer: 5 Take Home Tips * Lifting weights will not convert you into the Hulk overnight (or, you know, ever) * Strength training improves fatigue resistance & running economy * Think: movement not muscles * Perform sets 3-5 sets of 4-6 reps for best results * Progressively add weight to each exercise   About Enertor Advanced Technology Insoles  Enertor insoles are designed to prevent a number of common running injuries and provide more comfort. Designed by leading podiatrists to reduce your risk of injury,  the unique design features support your foot throughout training.  Enertor insoles are enhanced by D3O impact protection technology, which means they can provide more shock absorption than any other insole.  Our expertise, combined with the patented D3O shock absorption technology, enables Enertor to deliver the most advanced injury prevention insoles on the market today. Enertor insoles are available online HERE .   Ref: *Optimising strength training for running and cycling endurance performance: A review, Ronnestad, R. & Muijka, I. , Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, August 2013 ** Alternatively I have a running specific strength class at The Foundry gym in Vauxhall. The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials,Bo Lauersen et al. , British Journal of Sports Medicine   Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site