Running or Strength training? Does it has to be Black or White?
Running has increase in popularity in the past few years. It seems like even the most sedentary person are putting the effort to run a 5 km. I think this is a very good news. No matter if you like it or not, the more active the population will be, better will be the impact on their health.
Let me ask you a question: What do you think is best to get fit or to lose weight? Endurance training like running or cross skiing or heavy strength training? Do you believe that you need to sweat like crazy and be constantly doing « cardio » to drop pounds?
In fact, this as been a debate for many decades now. I won’t go into full detail researches because my point today is not to prove you that one or the other is the only way to get fit and healthy. Unless you are an elite athlete, and even there, I believe the best option is to find the right balance between the 2. I’ve found on myself that strength training combine with short distance running (100 m to 400 m) works the best for my body composition. The good news with this is I was also able to run a 10 k’s at a good pace without being exhaust. I don’t really enjoy running it but still …
The point behind my personal story is simply to show that you don’t need to run 10 k’s over 10 k’s to become faster at it. Even if you are running marathons. It’s essential to get a weekly planning that will include strength training. This way you’ll get leaner (less friction from fat on your body will also help to improve the range of motion), stronger, and of course more effective on every stroke. An adapted strength training plan will also re-balance your body due to the repetitive activities. So to all the long distance runners… You won’t look like a douchebag and become heavier if you start including weight training into your routine!
There’s an aspect I need to clarify. For myself, strength training is not the goal itself. It’s part of the working process to stay away from injuries and to improve yourself to a better « athlete » and become better at what you love to do!
I have a friend who’s a very good surfer and he also hates the gym. No matter what, at around 40, he decided to start a strength training program. He was amazed about the benefits of getting stronger. He was able to paddle faster, so he was not only getting more waves while out paddling other surfers in the line up, but with stronger legs and core, he was much aggressive on both, bottom and top turns. Indirectly, by becoming a better athlete, the training helped him to improve is surfing. This example can be apply to any sports!
If you’re a gym rat, this doesn’t mean that you should stay away from running or other endurance activities. Most of them are performing outside. I’m not an « air specialist » but normally the air is better outside than in a rubber floor training room. Running will help not only trigger your body from a totally different angle. It will constantly required an adaptation to stay efficient. Back in Bc, I was surprised about how many ultra trail runners were out there. You have to be mentally strong to go out on a Sunday morning and run a 50 miles in the mountains! Big respect!!!
Has you can see there’s no black or white answer. Both have their place to stay fit and healthy. Go ahead and find a good coach that set the right planning and the right diet to maximize the benefits and keep you away from injuries.
Continue to enjoy your favorite activity and stay healthy!