Run to the Top Podcast | The Ultimate Guide to Running

34 of 709 episodes indexed
Back to Search - All Episodes

The Biggest Mistake You’re Making With Your Strength Training

by RunnersConnect: Coaching Community, Running Experts, Inspiring Runners, No Fluff Blog
January 27th 2023

Not including proper progression in your strength routines is one of the biggest reasons you may still be getting injured despite performing injury prevention routin... More

Hello fellow runners, I'm your host, Finn Melanson and this is the run to the top podcast, the podcast dedicated to making you a better runner with each and every episode we are created and produced by the expert team of coaches at runners connect dot net where you can find the best running information on the internet as well as training plans to fit every runner and every budget. This week we are back with another awesome lesson from Coach Jeff Gaudette. In today's episode, Coach Jeff is going to discuss one of the biggest mistakes runners make when it comes to strength training, a lack of progression. He'll explain what progression means, why it's so critical and give you a concrete outline to follow to make sure your strength training includes progression. This is a session coach Jeff recorded for our members a while back. So there are a few references to our plans and programs, but you can still follow along and easily incorporate this amazing lesson into your training. In fact, to make it easier. We've included a free download of the slides. Coach Jeff used in this presentation in the show notes for this episode.

Just head to runners connect dot net back slash 574 and you can get the free download, You're gonna love this episode. Do you find it difficult to hit the right spots when foam rolling or find it too difficult to control the pressure when you're on the ground. Then you need to check out mobility wall, the foam roller that mounts to your doorway, which makes the pressure much easier to control. I'll tell you more about them later in this episode, but you can check them out now at mobility wall dot com backslash. R. T. T. T. Countless research studies have shown that pillow selection can have a dramatic impact on sleep quality, lagoon specializes in making pillows designed specifically for runners and athletes to help them optimize their sleep and recovery. We'll talk more about the specific benefits later in the episode, but you can learn more at lagoon sleep dot com backslash. T. O. P and get a 15% discount. Hey, everybody welcome to today's coach chat. I'm Jeff, God it and today, what we're gonna be talking about is strength training progression and phases.

Now this is an area where I think a lot of runners get it wrong now, it doesn't necessarily hurt you if you're not incorporating progression in phases in your training. But what it does sure ensure is that you're probably going to stall or not make progress or make further gains. And I think it's actually one of the reasons that a lot of injury prevention routines that you may do don't necessarily work. It's because you're going to start out and initially make some progress. Like if you have weak hips, for example, you're gonna start out and initially make progress, but if you're not progressing or in this injury prevention case prevent progressing and making overload, then what's gonna happen is your strength gains are gonna stop and you're only going to get to a certain point and for a lot of runners that point might not be strong enough to support the amount of volume or the amount of running that they want to do. So that's why initially it may start to help or they may start to notice that there's something weak, but it doesn't necessarily always translate into their injuries going away.

And another example for like phases of strength training. It's why I think you'll see a lot of runners who often find that strength training just kind of makes them tired and isn't really adding any benefit to their running. And I'm gonna explain both what progression overload and phases are to get started. We're gonna start with progression now progression. I mean, simply speaking that you need to make sure that your strength training in some way is continually overloading your system, because overload is how strength develops. Now, just to be really brief with that, what I mean, is that your body is always going to adapt to new stress by building stronger and more resilient muscle fibers. So we do that by overloading the body or muscle in some way, allowing the body to recover, respond and when it recovers and responds, it grows back stronger and then at some point we need to increase the overload in order for our body to make continual progress because if it's just the same amount of stress or the same amount of stimulus, then the body isn't gonna respond to that anymore.

And what I find that the trick with overload is that it needs to be gradual and this is so either runners I find kind of usually in two camps, either they we don't add any new overload at all, and I would say this is more common. I you know, I look at almost every strength training program that comes out from, you know, Runner's World, Youtube, whatever it may be and there's never any talk about progression. And so it's just, oh, here's routine and you kind of do that routine, but it's no talk of progression. But the other mistake that I think runners make is we runners just have this mentality of wanting to do more, wanting to do it faster sooner and make progress faster and often times we try to overload too much too soon. So the trick here is making sure that you balance the overload by making sure that you include it, but not doing too much. And I think the best way to look at this is to break down overload into three concepts or three, I guess, like types or ways that we can overload the body when it comes to strength training for runners.

So the first thing is that we can add resistance and you can do this either through weights or resistance bands going to the gym, you can get creative whether it be books or like a backpack of books or you know, if you're doing eccentric killing exercises, something like that. Um you know, you can get creative but basically in some way adding resistance or weights, now adding resistance or weights isn't always going to be possible. There are some exercises that just, it's almost impossible to do. But I would say for the most part, there is a way to add resistance to most strength training exercises. Now, the second way that we can overload the muscle is we can increase the time under tension. And usually by that we're talking about specifically increasing the number of reps that you do or repetitions. So you could start out, for example by doing eight repetitions of each exercise or holding a specific exercise for 30 seconds. And then when you increase it would be increasing the number of reps to 10 or 12 or increasing the amount of time that you hold something till for 60 seconds.

And so that type of overload, we kind of consider time under tension. And then finally you can add a more dynamic component or make the exercise type more challenging. So this is an example of when you could add swiss balls, kettlebells, um medicine balls would would fall into this, but they could also fall into resisting increasing resistance. Anything where we are just changing the, the type of exercise to make it a little bit more dynamic. It could be going from a double leg squat to a single leg squat, something like that. So there's all kinds of unique ways that you can do that. You can add dynamics is um to your strength training to further increase progressions. And um when you're setting up your own progressions, one of the most important things is that you need to just do one at a time and you do 11 type of overload or progression.

So let's say maybe you increase weight first, you do that for one or two weeks until you feel like your body has adjusted and is adapted to that. And then you either uh either increased reps, increased weight again or add a new dynamic component to your exercise and then again you do that for a couple weeks until you feel good. Again, the important part is that you do not want to try to add or due to overloads at the same time, so you don't want to try to increase resistance and increased reps at the same time. This is usually going to be progressing too fast. I usually like to stick with one progression type until it makes until it no longer makes sense and then you can move to another progression. So for example, with adding resistance at some point it becomes too difficult or awkward to continue to add resistance. For example, um Let's say you're using resistance bands for let's say like a glute bridge or a donkey kick or something like that, that at some point there is only so strong of a resistance band that you can use where it no longer makes sense.

And so that case, that's when we need to use another type of overload, I find that works well um from my perspective, that's kind of why I like to do it, but you're certain more than welcome to mix them up. Um Here is so if you kind of do this, you're gonna get a really good 8 to 12 week progression of strength training for yourself. And so here's an example on the screen and you don't always have to follow this example, specifically, some runners are gonna take more than two weeks to fully adapt to adding repetitions or adding weight, something like that. But it's important that you are at least look at the basic structure of how we're doing one at a time. In this example, I chose to increase or change the type of overload every time. What I usually find works easiest is resistance and repetitions. And then adding dynamics is um is more kind of that final level. Next step where you can kind of really take your training to the next level. And then I would say that's for probably more for advanced runners, but as you can see here, this is a really good eight week progression of what your strength training might look like and you can always kind of repeat this progression because I think at some point you're always going to have to take some down time.

Uh you know, 12 weeks would roughly be a race training schedule. Um So after you take recovery time from that, then you would, you know, reset it. And then also when we look at this type of strength, there's a lot of different types of strength that we can do. You know, we're talking about core work, hip work, leg specific work, general bodywork, injury prevention, work, all that kind of thing. So Usually what I'll tell runners is that we'll focus on one progression each training season and then the next training season kind of figure out where now, where were we? Because usually after that 8-12 weeks, we've eliminated that weakness. And so then we'll move on to finding that next weakness that we might have and then implementing that a 12 week progression. Again, we all know how important foam rolling is for staying injury free and just plain feeling better for every run. But let's face it, many of us skip it because clearing out space on the floor feels like too much work. The pressure is too painful and difficult to control or you can't seem to hit the right spots.

That's why I was so amazed when I saw the door mounted foam roller from mobility wall, the mobility wall device mounts to your door frame in just a few seconds and it's easy to move up and down the frame in just a few seconds. Not only does this get you off the ground and ready to foam roll in just a few seconds, it also allows you to easily hit muscles in your neck and shoulders that aren't possible with the traditional foam roller even better because you're off the ground, you don't have to control gravity to address the pressure. You simply use upward and inward pressure, which is much easier to control. The days of painful foam rolling are over because of how much easier it is to use. I've never been more consistent with foam rolling plus I am able to target muscles I never could with a foam roller, like my persistent high hamstring pain and my neck and shoulders, I feel so much looser and more dynamic. Now, if you've been wanting to get more consistent with your injury prevention work this year, the mobility wall foam roller will be a game changer. Plus we've got a special offer for you just go to mobility wall dot com backslash R.

T. T. T. Or enter R. T. T. T. At checkout for 20% off your first order. Plus it comes with a free app that gives you video instructions on exactly how to hit every area once again, that's mobility wall dot com backslash R. T. T. T. For 20% off your first order. If you're a frequent listener, then you probably know that optimizing recovery is one of the best ways to guarantee consistent improvement. And of course sleep is probably one of the most important components of optimal recovery. You hear a lot about getting enough sleep improving quality, sleep and so on. But have you ever thought about how important your pillow might be when it comes to quality sleep? Countless research studies have shown that pillow selection can have a dramatic impact on sleep quality. For example, a systematic review of ergonomic sleep data demonstrated that selecting a pillow based on you sleep position on your back or on your side, dramatically improved sleep quality and reduced spinal pain. Likewise, research has shown that pillow firmness and height also had positive impacts on sleep quality when adjusted for sleep position and the subjects height.

Multiple studies have also shown that pillow stuffing that can keep you cool throughout the night leads to much better deep sleep outcomes. And that's why we love the pillows designed by lagoon lagoon specializes in making pillows designed specifically for runners and athletes to help them optimize their sleep and recovery. Their sleep quiz pairs you with the perfect pillow for you based on sleep position, body size and more in the data on sleep improvement isn't only from research papers using her device U. S. Olympic trials, Marathon qualifier Caitlin keen saw her deep restorative sleep increased by 52 minutes when she switched to a lagoon pillow if you want to see the dramatic effect. A pillow designed just for you can be head to lagoon sleep dot com backslash T. O. P. Then take their awesome two minute sleep quiz that matches you with the lagoon pillow, that's perfect for you. Plus if you use the code T. O. P. At checkout, you'll also save 15% off your purchase again. That's lagoon sleep dot com backslash T. O. P. Now, the other thing that I mentioned at the start of this video was phases and like developing specific strength for specific fitness for your race.

I do believe that if your strength training is focused on performing at a particular race distance, then you need to have phases in your strength training just like you would with running. So just like running first, you'd have like a general level of fitness, like a build up phase where you slowly get more and more specific to the specific demands of the race. If you start the harder or more race specific exercises too soon. Usually what ends up happening is kind of going back to what I talked about before is there's no way for you to make progress. It's kind of like you've put all your eggs on the table and then either you're doing too much too soon because usually that race specific stuff is a more difficult end. But what will happen is that you're not able to make any progress and then you kind of, you're not giving yourself a chance to work on your weaknesses, which is a lot of what we'd like to do in the earlier phases. So here's a breakdown of kind of the phases that I think about when I look at strength training and kind of what they mean and different things that you can do with them. So I always like to start with an introductory phase, uh even if you are a more experienced runner or more experienced lifter, the introductory phase is really just designed to get yourself accustomed to the new routines.

And I do think again, whether you're a beginner or experienced, it's really critical that you give your body time to adjust to the new stimuli. So I definitely always incorporated for everyone uh advanced or being a runner. Um I think it helps build resistance and it kind of establishes the foundation for kind of all the routines that are gonna come next, which I think is important. So the second phase is the foundation phase and it's akin to kind of like the base building phase that you would find in a running program at this point, you should be used to now performing strength training work and have blended it into your running training as well. But now we're gonna usually, what I recommend here is either getting to where you're going to be your starting point for progression or starting to introduce um kind of more difficult strength workouts that you're going to be doing in the more specific phase. Now, the third phase is what I call the maintenance phase, that's really not a great name for it because it's really about all around development.

And what I mean by that is you're trying to get your strength, overall strength as high as possible and sometimes this is going to require, this is gonna be a different focus for different athletes. So for some runners this maybe doing higher reps strength work to work on endurance if that's maybe their weakness or doing lower rep work with higher weights if absolute strength is their weakness. And so this is where this phase can get a little bit individual, but I think this is where again you're trying when I think of it, no matter what program you follow, what I think of it as is how do I work on my weaknesses? So that when I start the race specific training for strength, there is nothing that is holding me back or or maybe I should say as little as possible, holding me back, preventing me from performing my best in these race specific routines. So that's kind of how I look at the maintenance face. Probably not the best name for it, but that's how I look at it.

Um finally we're gonna, what we do either call the peak phase or the race specific phase and this is where I think most generalized strength planning plans really lack. And just like the final 3-4 weeks of your running training, the routines in this phase are all gonna be geared or all should be geared towards improving your specific fitness for the race that you're training for. So let me give you an example in the marathon, the primary focus of strength training is preventing injury and this is designed to allow for more more mileage, allow you to do your long runs and finish them healthy and to complete the longer workouts. The secondary focus would be something like building fatigue resistance and improving the your muscular endurance, meaning the amount of time that you can recruit your maximum muscle fibers so you can run a marathon pace for longer. Now, on the flip side, if you're training for the 5K, you're primarily gonna be want to be focused your strength work on improving stride efficiency, generating maximum muscle recruitment and facilitating overall strength to improve your ability to run five K, pays for the entire time or speed endurance.

So the types of workouts that you're going to do so are gonna be different. If you're training for a marathon, you really shouldn't be doing a lot of plyometric work that's very explosive. Not very specific to the marathon on the same lines with the five K. You do want to be doing some plyometric work, if you're able to build up to that that is specific to the five K. So example of two types of strength training that can work for for for for a five K runner and not work for a marathoner. And so that's where I think a lot of generalized programs get things wrong because they don't they don't consider the type of race that you're doing, you're just kind of doing a generalized routine which may or may not be helpful towards the goal race that you're working for working towards. Now, that kind of finishes up the phases that I look at. And I mean, I could definitely make a video and I might at some point uh kind of talk a little bit more about, I guess race specific strength work. Um And what I want to say about phases is that the length of phases can really differ for every runner.

I think the majority of runners want to put in most of their time in the foundation or maintenance phase and then you know, typically anywhere from 4-6 weeks focusing on the specific phase, if they're able to progress to that level. Um you don't always have to do a specific phase training if you are a real beginner with strength work, but I think it's it's definitely something to introduce yourself to. Now. The one thing I will say about this entire talk is hopefully this gave you a really good idea of how to incorporate both progression and phases into your training and where they apply when you can use them generally speaking, I look at doing progression overload, when it's injury specific work or trying to improve specific weaknesses that I know are either getting the injury leading to injury allowing me not to run whatever that may be. And then using phase using the phase progression of strength training when I am healthy and I want to perform my best in a race.

So that's how I decide which one I'm going to attack and then uh once I implement, I used the rules that we talked about today and so hopefully that gives you a really good idea of how to plan out your own strength training or if you have another plan that you're following that doesn't incorporate these elements to be able to add them yourself and incorporate them. However, because you are a masters member, all of these, um all of this progression and faced thinking is actually already incorporated into a lot of the strength programs that we have and that's actually one of the reasons that we set up the challenges as a are a lot of the strength routines as a 30 day challenge or 20 day challenge or whatever it may be, because that allows us to add in the progression without having to kind of get into the science about what it is, what what phase are in, you know, what, all that kind of stuff from my perspective for athletes, sometimes it works a lot better to sneak in these types of progressions and phases, so that you almost do them without realizing and then, and you know, week after week after week after day after day, you're building up without necessarily realizing how you're going about doing it.

Another big reason for that is I see a lot of runners who get intimidated if we look at and say here's this type of strength that we're going to do in a month from now versus where you're at today. I think looking that far ahead can get a little intimidating. So by putting it in a challenge for him That we incorporate the progression in the phases without intimidating you by being here is where you're gonna be in 30 days. So if you don't have your own strength program that you're already following, I encourage you to check out the 30 day challenges, they're pretty simple to get to just go to your dashboard and then go to challenges. There are a bunch of different strength training challenges in there that you can incorporate into your training at any time. So, again, I hope this lesson gave you a lot of good ideas um showed you how the challenges work a little bit and showed you where you can probably improving your strength training to make better games. Um not sure when the next video will be, but I hope you're enjoying all this content, We're excited to bring it to you and I hope you have an awesome run today. Thanks so much. Coach Jeff included a lot of great information in that talk explaining what progression is and why it's important, the different ways you can add in progressive overload deer training and he walked us through a four phase progression you can implement in your training today.

What were your biggest takeaways? What'd you learn? Help us get the conversation started by leaving a question or comment on the facebook and instagram posts for this episode. Thanks for listening to the run to the top podcast. I'm your host, Finn Melanson and as always, our mission here is to help you become a better runner with every episode. Please consider connecting with me on instagram at Wasatch Finn and the rest of our team at runners connect. Also consider supporting our show for free rating on the Spotify and Apple podcast players. And lastly, if you love the show and want bonus content behind the scenes experiences with our guests and premier access to contests and giveaways. Then subscribe to our newsletter by going to runners connect dot net back slash podcast. Until next time, happy training

The Biggest Mistake You’re Making With Your Strength Training
The Biggest Mistake You’re Making With Your Strength Training
replay_10 forward_10