‘Dangerous’ Strength Training

Most runners seem to be aware (even if they don’t agree!) that strength training is an essential component of training. If carried out correctly, strength training can increase speed, help to prevent injuries, improve running economy, alongside a variety of other benefits.

The purpose of this post is not to discuss the Science behind strength training for runners – I’m definitely not qualified to do that! What I want to explore is the problem with some of the strength training programmes I have been given by qualified Personal Trainers. (I did wonder whether a more apt title to this post could be ‘The Danger of Personal Trainers’ but something about this didn’t sit right with me.)

Unlike running, I don’t enjoy strength training, and therefore have always turned to the help of a personal trainer as I struggle to motivate myself in this area.

Without naming and shaming anyone, my main issue with previous personal trainers is that the training programmes they prescribed me were SO generic. In one particular instance, in spite of being assured that the programme was tailored to me as an individual, I began to see numerous people in the gym performing the EXACT SAME workout. Honestly – the EXACT. SAME. From start to finish – the same warm up, the same number of reps, the same stretches, the same EVERYTHING. Perhaps this was me being naïve, but I could not believe that I had been paying so much £££ for what was essentially a template that the PT had created and distributed to all his (or her – ANONYMITY etc.) clients.

The same PT advised me to carry out strength training at least 4 times per week, oblivious to my concerns that this may sabotage my running. My concerns turned out to be completely accurate; embarking on this strength training programme resulted in my legs being so sore that I couldn’t run for almost a week.

I have wasted a lot of time and £££ on PT’s who have put me through the same session each week, prescribed generic workouts, and ultimately increased my risk of injury. HOWEVER, I have recently started training with a PT who completely understands my goals both as an individual and as a runner – and this really excites me! (More about this on a later date.)

The moral of this woeful tale is obvious – find a PT who is genuinely invested in your progress and helping you reach your goals. Basically, find a PT who isn’t a moron.