Practice makes perfect and running is no exception. The more you do it, the easier it gets. As fitness enthusiasts and aspiring athletes, we tend to choose our preferred sport or discipline, whether that be running or something else entirely, and dedicate our time to achieving goals within that discipline. Time and effort performing in a chosen field should gain results right?

But having tunnel vision when it comes to your fitness regime may be holding you back from achieving your goals and consistently clocking up the miles may not be enough to get you to where you want to be as a runner.


In running, like with any sport, it’s important to condition your body and build strength in order to be a well-rounded athlete whilst also working towards your personal goals. Runners can often be put off by the idea of strength training because they feel that strength equals bulk and bulk is harder to carry round when running long distances.

If they are willing to vary their training methods, it’s usually a variation of running such as hill sprints or long distance – whatever it is, it’s still running. Moreover, from a weight loss perspective, we know that running will burn more calories than the same amount of time spent strength training.

So why bother? Whether you agree with this or not will depend on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re purely trying to lose some weight, maybe you feel that running alone will get you there. However if you want really want to take your running to the next level, and see improvements in all aspects of your abilities, adding some weight training into your weekly regime might just be for you.

Woman doing workout with barbell

Here are 3 reasons runners should consider strength training:

3 Reasons Runners Should Strength Train

  1. Avoid Injury

While it’s true that we can never be completely injury proof, strength training is one thing runners can do to give themselves the best shot at staying in tip-top condition. Once past the beginner’s stage, running has no major benefits in building strength. It is a fantastic way to improve your cardiovascular health but it won’t improve your muscles. This often causes problems for runners who have built up their endurance, feel competent as runners and are ready to take their sport to the next level.


Upping the amount you run or the pace you run at is a natural progression once you’ve grown accustomed to running yet this is where many runners find themselves injury prone. Their muscles are not ready for the increase in tension and so often become injured. The solution to this is regular strength training alongside progression with your running. Increasing muscle strength helps to protect your joints which in turn helps to avoid repetitive stress related injuries. Moreover, strength training now will help to appease any pre-existing problems you have with old injuries.

  1. Become a Well Oiled Machine

Fitness goals vary massively, though they can all boil down to a similar concept: to get your body working as productively and efficiently as possible. No matter how hard you try, it’s extremely difficult to achieve as close to perfection as possible if you only stick to one discipline. In fact, training across different disciplines can actually help you to improve in your chosen sport and running with strength training is a prime example.


Adding a few days of strength training into your weekly schedule can visibly improve the way you run. Runners will want to focus on lower body strength for obvious reasons however the core should also not be neglected. By focusing on your core strength you will improve your posture, which is not only great for overall health but will also improve you efficiency whilst running. A naturally straight back with a relaxed, forward facing torso and upper body will increase lung capacity, stride and even pace, meaning you get more out of the effort you’re putting in.


Another way strength training can make you more efficient is by improving what happens after you run. Strength training can have a positive impact on recovery time by improving the rate at which your body converts metabolic waste into energy.


  1. Burn Baby Burn

For those runners who are primarily concerned with diet and weight loss, strength training should not be sniffed at. There are a few assumptions made by diet focused runners that mean they’re less inclined to hit the weight rack. Primarily, there is the assumption that lifting weights creates bulk, which is the exact opposite of what dieters are looking for and that they don’t need muscle to lose weight. That assumption is correct: you don’t necessarily need muscle to lose weight. But what people often find surprising is that having more muscle will actually help you to achieve your weight loss goals by burning more calories both during exercise and after.

Running is cardiovascular exercise and so can help you to lose those extra pounds and achieve a slimmer physique without actually building any muscle mass. This means that although you may have lost a bit of fat, you haven’t really gained anything either. Through strength training, runners can build the muscle which, we have seen, can improve performance and ward off injury whilst giving them a toned physique. The cherry on the cake is that, through having built up their muscle mass, they will now be burning more calories than ever before. While fat burns almost no energy, whether we are actively pursuing exercise or resting, muscle constantly needs oxygen to survive and so the more muscle we have, the more energy we burn when both active and resting.

relaxation under the sun

Whether you’re running to lose weight or you’re running to challenge yourself as an athlete, it’s clear that cross discipline training can only have positive effects on your performance. Through combining strength training with your running regime, you can improve your performance, avoid injury and increase the rate at which you burn calories – it’s a win-win situation.

This is republished article. Originally this article was published by