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Marathon Training Part 3: Why you Should Incorporate Strength Training

Marathon Training Part 3: Why you Should Incorporate Strength Training


With less than 6 weeks to go to the Dublin Marathon, we are sure you all have your training programmes well under way! For most advanced runners who have completed a marathon before, you are probably aware of the benefits of strength training to improve performance. For beginners, now is the time to learn of the importance of incorporating weights into your training programme. You should also slowly start to introduce them before the big day. Not only will it improve physical performance, it will make you feel stronger and better about your ability. It will also help improve mental confidence on the big day.

Benefits of Strength Training for Runners:

Injury Prevention –

As mentioned in part 1, strength training is hugely important for runners to improve injury resilience. It both toughens the connective tissues and strengthens the muscles throughout your body. The majority of runners will get injured at some stage. It is important to stay healthy through strength training. It will help prevent injuries that result from weak muscles, tendons or ligaments.

Muscular Power –

The goal of weight training for runners is to improve their ability to produce force. Correcting muscle imbalances and weakness will enable you to be able to produce force quickly. This can help you run faster and finish the race strong with a fast finishing kick.

Neuromuscular Coordination –

This refers to the function of the body to learn, rehearse and refine different movement patterns. Strength training helps build neuromuscular coordination and teaches you how to use your muscles in a more efficient, effective and economical way. This efficiency and improved running economy translated means that you preserve energy, enabling you to apply greater force to run faster and with less effort.

As a runner, we know the idea of weight training can seem daunting, but remember you are training for strength, not to build muscle mass. Therefore, you don’t need to spend hours a week in the gym. Just focus on one to two times a week, focusing on compound movement patterns and areas that you find weak and more like to injure. Focus on relatively heavy weight for a moderate number of repetitions with full recovery, as oppose to a circuit based fitness class which incorporates a level of cardio. Ideally, don’t schedule a hard running workout for the same day of a weight session. However a lower intensity running workout is fine to schedule with weight training, just aim to complete the weight workout prior to running, at least six hours.

Examples of Strength Training Exercises for Runners:

Upper Body:

  1. Pushup
  2. Bent Over Row
  3. Reverse Fly


  1. Plank
  2. Leg Raise
  3. Single-Side Weighted Situp

Lower Body:

  1. Deadlift
  2. Lunge
  3. Single-leg Bridge

Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, we have a team of chartered physiotherapists to assist you if you with any running related concerns. Our sports specialists Dave and Olive are trained in treating a wide range of sports related injuries and in addition can offer assessments such as functional training to evaluate your training concerns. To book an appointment, please contact the clinic here.

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