Build a Strong Base - Page 4
Phase 3: Get Strong
Exercise scientists no longer believe that simply running is adequate for improving running performance. Research shows that resistance training strengthens fast-twitch muscle fibers (which come into play during the latter stages of ultras and while running uphill), improves neuromuscular coordination and balance, gives better resistance to muscular fatigue and reduces the risk of injury.
By training your muscles to deliver more 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 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 a workout, next time, 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 improve. Lint does some “high-rep upper-body work and some stabilizing core work, using the BOSU ball, including sit-ups and oblique sit-ups.”