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How to Get More Power and Run Better

April 17, 2019

How to Get More Power and Run Better

A little strength training can go a long way for runners. Successful runners have long recognized that strength training is an integral piece of the training puzzle. It can make you faster and help you reduce injuries.

What Does Power Do?

Strength training improves your performance by making you more efficient and waste less energy. Your muscle power—the ability to generate force quickly—will increase, making you faster and better able to kick at the end of a race.


How Do You Get Power?

The first step is to get into a routine of adding weights to your program. The focus should be on lifting relatively heavy weight for a few times (2–10 reps). This ensures you’re lifting enough weight to get stronger and more powerful. Runners don’t need to lift to exhaustion. We get enough endurance during our runs. A simple workout like 3 sets of 8 reps of the squat, deadlift, and push-press is an excellent power-building session. As long as the weight is challenging enough to make the final set very difficult, then it’s appropriate.

Runners don’t need long workouts, like 5-6 times per week. That is lifting for body-builders, and leads to hypertrophy or bulking up—we actually don’t want big muscles. And we don’t need to focus on balance exercises. It’s actually counterproductive during power training because we can’t improve our force production on an unstable surface.

Exercises like the Power Clean, Jerk, or Snatch are also particularly helpful because they’re explosive movements. They’re designed to improve your ability to produce force.

So, adding training that involves relatively heavy weight and then adds some explosive movements to prioritize power is the ideal strength training. The result can be an injury-resilient runner with a smooth, powerful stride who’s capable of faster racing and has a strong finishing kick.