Workout Wednesday 2: Strength Training for Ultra Runners
Hey hey! We are back with the second feature of Workout Wednesday. You can read what it is all about here (although I imagine it is fairly self-explanatory.)
This week tackles a section of a reader question I received from someone who is training for his first 50 K in 2017!
Hey Jessica, Need a little advice. I’m doing a 50 km trail race next spring. I’m aiming for 5-6 training days a week- plus active recovery. My question is how much strength work should I do? Should I do it?
Answer to that one is YES but it is important to find a routine that works right for you. I understand that science says that lifting heavy is advantageous in terms of power and strength in running, but I find that I get more niggles and pains in my running due to a lot of load. So in order to remain injury-free, I do a lot of body weight work while I have high volume training and save the heavier stuff for my off-season. In terms of frequency, I normally don’t surpass three times a week.
A lot of the strength training I do for trail running has to do with stability and movement on a lot of different planes. Whether I am careening down a technical downhill or hopping over rocks or roots on the trail, it is important that my body is stable and able to react to a lot of different things that may arise. Trails, especially for ones that you are unfamiliar with, are going to throw a lot of new things at you and it is important that you are primed to react.
A lot of what I do is focused on single leg work.
This is one of my favourite workouts to get myself race-ready for the trails.
Jumping Lunge – Also called Scissors Jump. I like this for the explosive power that it provides and the single leg strength. Alternate exercise is the single leg squat.
Monster Walk – OW. This one is awesome for targeting under exercised areas of the glutes and making sure that you are charged up and less prone to injury.
Single Leg Jump: Stand on your right leg. Drop into a half squat (going only partially down). Jump diagonally to your left. Land in a half squat on your left leg. Repeat, jumping diagonally to your right. Do 10 reps on each leg for three to five sets.
Single Leg Balance – It improves your balance, coordination, and speed and is are often overlooked. When you are not doing this workout, make it a point to balance on one foot more. Stand up and balance while putting your shoes on. Stand on one foot while you brush your teeth, talk on the phone, cook dinner. When we run, we are continually in the single-leg stance so you should want to be strongest in this stance.
One Leg Tip/Dip: Stand on one leg, keeping your lower-leg muscles relaxed and your hip/core muscles engaged. Put your hands on your hips and bend forward from the ball-and-socket joint of the standing leg. As you bend forward, extend the other leg behind you, keeping it and your torso as one straight unit. Once your lifted leg and torso are parallel to the ground, hold this for a count of 3, and slowly return to standing. At one-leg standing, complete a one-leg squat in 3 counts.
Thank you to everyone who submitted questions for this feature. Next workout will be on winter running so check back next week for that one!