Building an Ultra-Strong Base - Page 3
Phase 3: Get Strong
Exercise scientists no longer believe that running alone is adequate for ultra endurance running. Research shows that resistance training improves fast-twitch muscle fibers (which come into play during the latter stages of ultras and while running uphill), improve neuromuscular coordination and balance, give better resistance to muscular fatigue and reduce the risk of injury.
By training your muscles to deliver more force, or power, with each stride, the larger the range (or reserve) will be between your cruising and maximal efforts when trail running. This translates into cruising at a lower percentage of your maximum effort for a longer time. Strength training is best done concurrently with your aerobic- and hill-running phases.
Despite the reduced foot-strike impact of trail running, it's harder on your hip, knee and ankle joints than flat road running because of the hills, rough, uneven terrain, tight corners and slippery ground. Thus, strengthening your "steering muscles" (the hip adductors, abductors, flexors and extensors) will improve your trail running tremendously, especially if you've never trained them before. Strengthening these stabilizers is one of the most underutilized training techniques for runners, yet can yield great benefits in just a few months of training.
Morrison, for example, lifts weights three days each week. "I like to incorporate some stability training as well," he says. "For example, I do curls and presses while standing on a BOSU ball."
Strength training should be performed two to three days a week, with at least one rest day between each session. If you are very fatigued and sore after each workout, split it into two workouts and allow two days rest between each.
Start with one set of eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, increasing to two sets max as you adjust to the exercises. Lint does some "high-rep upper-body work and some stabilizing core work, using the BOSU Ball, including sit-ups and oblique sit-ups".
Get to the gym this winter for summer success
• Leg press (Quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, gluteals)
Lean back on machine with back firmly against pad. With ankles, knees and hips aligned, slowly straighten legs. Do not lock out your knees. Press heels against the platform through full range.
• Lunge (Quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, gluteals)
Stand upright with feet together, holding dumbbells at your sides. Slowly take a large step forward with one leg, bending both knees. Your rear knee should come close to the floor. Using your extended leg, push yourself back to the starting position. Advanced lunge: keep moving forward with each step, instead of returning to your original standing position.