Basically strength training is anything that forces your muscles, joints and tendons to work against resistance. That resistance can be in the form of a traditional barbell or dumbbells found in a gym but can also be just exercises that use your body weight or a resistance band. These exercises are easy to do at home or when traveling. These aren’t difficult exercises but they should be done slowly and deliberately with proper attention to form to target the proper muscles. Short workouts just 10 – 20 minutes at a time done 2 -3 times a week is all that it takes!
How does strength training do all these miraculous things?
Running is a forward only motion. This means that you are only moving in one direction and using your joints, tendons and muscles in the same way repeatedly impacting your body in the same way. By developing your overall strength, the more resilient your body will become to the demands of running. The repetitive impact of running won’t wear you down as much.
A half marathon is an endurance event. As you build to longer running distances each week, your body will fatigue in places that you may find unexpected! Having good overall strength in your core and upper body can help you maintain better form towards the end of your event. You’ll still be moving forward more efficiently and less likely to end up with an overuse injury. Not only that, overall strength can help in your day-to-day activities like carrying a kid or groceries.
Currently, weak glutes (ie weak muscles in your hips and butt) have become recognized as contributing to a host of common running injuries. Glute strength is very important because it controls your entire leg and provides stability. If you don’t have that stability, your leg can’t generate power to propel you forward. Your body will try to maintain stability anyway it can and your feet, knees and back will have more challenging forces to contend with which can lead to injury.
The rewards you can reap from consistent strength training are high. If you've committed to a race, why not commit to training that will only help you in the long run.