When you begin to increase your mileage, you may create muscle imbalances that can lead to injuries. Often, the remedy is strength training. “Those two words strike fear in many runners, but it’s even more important than getting the right shoes,” says Mike Keohane, a running coach and sports pedorthist at Foot Locker in New York City and a former 2:16 marathoner.
The most helpful exercises for runners focus on the upper legs, hips, buttocks, and lower back. “These muscle groups work together to carry us forward, and if any of them is weak, it will cause trouble,” Keohane says. He recommends two to three 30-minute strength workouts per week, with a gradual buildup in repetitions and sets. Focus on proper execution of each exercise, rather than on increasing the weight.
Other exercises, such as push-ups and bench presses for the chest muscles, can help round out your routine. “I’m a big believer in strength training,” says Jordan Metzl, MD, of HSS. “The biggest mistake runners make is not doing it.”
Mike Keohane is a New York City–based running coach, sports pedorthist, and manager of RUN by Foot Locker, a running specialty store. He is a longtime competitive marathoner with a PR of 2:16.
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