How important is Strength Training for Runners ?

I had been away from the trails for close to a year, because of plantar fasciitis. I seriously used that time for swimming, biking, and strength-training. Both activities are tremendously helpful to increase your cardio-vascular strengths.



For swimming, it increases cardio-vascular strength, endurance, posture, and flexibility all at the same time.



“Unlike high-impact sports such as running, which stresses your joints, swimming is a no-impact sport unlikely to cause or aggravate joint injuries.”



For biking, it strengthens your lungs, improves core, and definitely creates stronger legs.



Since last 4 months, I have been regularly hitting the gym, doing some serious weight training. I always do circuit training for an hour to hour-and a half. All most all sports have strength training as part of training regime.



Strength training is quite different from weight training. Weight training focusses on the amount of weight you can lift, while strength training focusses on body strengthening while lifting weights.



Strength training, helps you condition your body, improve the posture, with various lifts involving kettle balls, barbell, dumb-bells. What I do is-

English: an exercise of shoulders

Barbell: pick and lift it up the shoulder


  1. Place a 2 ft table, and jump on-off the table, doing 10-12 reps. Increases the heart rate. [total 8 sets]
  2. Go for pull-ups, do 10 reps. In subsequent sets, the reps go down :(. [Total 3 sets]
  3. Go for push-ups, all variations, totaling 60-65, in sets of 25/20/15/10.
  4. Start with barbell, do a snatch lift. 5-7 reps, in total 6 sets with weights of 90/80 Kgs. This strengthens my legs, hamstrings, back, core, and complete upper body. A very powerful exercise.
  5. I also add kettle ball, swings, lifts, shrugs as variation to my strengthening.
  6. In addition to the above I focus on the shoulders, and chest workouts, by using the resistance band and machines.

By using weights, I am able to burn the fat, even when I am sitting in the office. Weights add muscle mass to your body and burn fat on a regular basis, even when the body is idle.



Now when I have started running, I see a great change in my running. Surprisingly, I am not that tired as I used to be, while running the uphills.



Look out for my next blogpost, on the change in my diet.



Train while you are strained..

Doctor’s, in this case it was my podiatrist, who has asked me not to run for the next two weeks… its bullshit, I freaked out.. 🙂 ..

Already annoyed at myself for hurting my heels, and the residual pain is not relieving, inspite of new pair of shoes 😦 .. regular icing.. and now am taking anti-inflamatory pills.

Well, instead of sitting on the couch, I have started biking more, hitting the gym for circuit weight training, and just started swimming yesterday. Off all this I feel that swimming is the best to keep the heart rate healthy.

While you are suffering from a running injury, you can utilise that time to give most rest to your legs, and exercise your upper body, and cross train. For a runner nothing can be more frustrating than not hitting the pavement or the trails. But it is always best to respect your body.

Listen to your body, listen to your doctor, read and talk to other runners, and check this out-

Certain things that one can do at the gym-

  1. Do elliptical
  2. work on the glute muscles
  3. work on the quads  (do the first three depending on the injured area on your leg)
  4. do planks, and side planks
  5. with moderate or low weights do more reps for shoulders, biceps, and chest
  6. Rowing is a great way to keep the heart rate going
  7. spinning and biking are amazing, but again depends on where you are injured
  8. Lastly, swimming is always a great alternative
the upper body is as important for a runner as the lower body, one realizes this with his right hand movements while running uphill. Plus right strength exercise builds motivation during runs, and makes you feel strong.
One thing, I have read, and been told is that always rest the injured area 100%, before starting fresh.
So happy training, and happy running.. !!

How important are track workouts..

Initially I never felt the importance of track workouts, may be because I was never a sports guy in my school years. When I started running, I used to run long distance, working on my stamina. Even today, I can run farther, than most of my school mates, who were super athletes back then.

Track and field

Image via Wikipedia


Advantages of track workout-

1) It pushes you towards speed runs, as you try to time your laps, and mile splits.

  • Always try to be consistent with your lap timings, ensuring that the last lap you run is either faster or at the same speed as the first one.
  • Straight tracks are the best to gain speed, one can always slow down at the curves, one reason also being that at the curves if you try to speed, you may loose balance, strain your IT band, and the ankles.
  • To catch the runner ahead of you, never try to take longer strides, instead shorter and quicker strides are effective. This has worked for me.

2) It increases your leg strength.

3) It gives you a confidence that you can consistently beat a sub 8 min/mile pace :).

4) Helps your core muscles to strengthen.

A good track workout depends on your level of running, and the race you are training for.

I am training for a half-marathon with a group of people, with varied running levels. Yesterday’s track-workout was-

1) 1 mile warm-up, with running the stairs up-down.

2) 2*400m  – 4*400m – 6*400m – 4*400m – 2*400m

3) 1 mile cool down.

4) lunges / planks / side-planks / stretches

5) and I did an extra 7 miles of biking, to commute to the track ground.


I have seen improvements in my running, with consistent track workouts. However, if you do not have the luxury of tracks, near your place, you may also do 1 mile split runs, with 400m cool downs on any trail. Distance being difficult to track, a sprint for 1 min and cool down for 30 secs, repeating this for a distance of 4-5 miles can also be a good speed workout.