Tips & Techniques

Why Consistent Strength Training Should be Your Main Focus as a Runner

Denise Smith 
April 23, 2024
Why Consistent Strength Training Should be Your Main Focus as a Runner

A former intern of ours, Kelly Carpenter, and now a rockstar D1 college runner (and future physical therapist!) wrote a blog for us about regular strength training is an important aspect of training for any runner, of any level!


Running is a sport that obviously requires a lot of conditioning and training. When most people think of how runners should condition themselves, they assume that the training stops at putting in miles every day. While running mileage every week is important to improving fitness for endurance runners, there is a lot more to being a good runner than simply running every day. Strength training is a key component in making sure that your body stays healthy and able to handle the training volume required for your specific goals. Good mechanics in running comes from good base strength, which is achieved through consistency and long term commitment. What most people commonly underestimate is how much of a difference strength training can make in not only staying healthy, but making progress towards long term goals and achieving them.


Personally, I have had my fair share of injuries that put a pause on my training. I have been a runner since middle school, but began doing it as a way to cross train. Having been a competitive Irish Dancer for eleven years, and eventually retiring last year to focus on running, I put a lot of strain on my body. I did both at the same time for the majority of my high school career. For the longest time, I thought that since I was constantly at cross country or track practice and then straight to dance class for hours after, I did not need to add anything else to my training. My perspective changed at the end of my sophomore cross country season, as I got tendonitis from overdoing my training and not properly accompanying the heavy load with strength and recovery. 


When I went to physical therapy, I was told the importance of cross training and incorporating running specific drills and exercises to strengthen my muscles. I stayed consistent with strength training and I started adding in drills to improve my form. While this took a lot of work, strength training was well worth it. Having a base with strength allowed me to have healthy seasons without any injuries that took me out of training. Less injury meant more running, and the goal is to enjoy the process of training and improving.


The biggest takeaway from strength training is to be consistent with it. Similar to improving endurance, it takes time to see results. No one can run for a few days and expect to get a personal record. The same concept applies to strength training. If you continue to practice this along with endurance training, you are guaranteed to see results eventually. The last thing you would want to do as a runner is have to sit out for injury. Of course injuries happen, but it is important to know that you did everything you could to prevent it.






Meet the Author
Denise Smith graduated from Marquette University in 2002 with a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy and has been a certified running technique specialist since 2014. She is a consultant for multiple local middle and high schools and instructs courses in Kinesiology at McHenry County College. Denise also travels the country as part of the Pose Method education team with a lecture series on injury prevention and treatment along with the running technique certification course.
You were made to move!