Will Running Build my Strength?

by | Sep 14, 2022 | Strength Training

Question of the day: will running build my strength?

The quick answer? Not really.

Since 2009, I’ve dedicated my career as a Physical Therapist to helping runners hit their goals and stay injury-free. A big part of treatment & coaching has been adding strength workouts to training plans.

Like most runners, I’m guessing you’d rather “just run.” However, I encourage you to zoom out.

Look at your fitness and running career as a whole. Longevity is the name of the game, and “just running” is not enough.

What you need to know:

Like other repetitive sports, running biases some muscle groups more than others. 

Simply put, not all muscles contribute equally to your running. Over the years, muscles that contribute more develop an imbalance over those that contribute less.

The imbalances eventually result in overuse injuries that can sideline you for weeks, months, or even years.

Luckily, you can run fast & pain-free — even as you get older. 

Watch this to learn more:

A 2014 study found that male and female runners in their late 50’s lost an average of 5% of their knee extension (quads) and 3.6% of their knee flexors (hamstrings) PER YEAR.

Losing strength is nothing new. Unfortunately, it occurs with your increasing age – whether you want it to or not. 

Bummer, right?

But here’s the thing:

While strength loss is inevitable, you can control the rate at which you lose it. You can bend the strength loss curve in your favor with proper training for a long, injury-free running career.


You guessed it — supplement your running with strength training. Better yet — focus on runner-specific movements.

Runner-specific movements target key muscle groups that support the running motion. They look and feel like running.

The top areas to target:

  1. Glute Strength
  2. Core Strength
  3. Balance

Adding strength to your running doesn’t have to be a chore either. That’s the beauty of using runner-specific movements. You can save time and burn more calories by targeting groups of muscles.

Trade an easy short run for a 30-minute strength session each week. With consistency, you’ll start to notice 

How to get started:

Give Base3 and Base6 Bootcamp to your training this week. Both are my favorite starting points to build strength in runners.

Both programs are found on RunSmart, and when you sign up for a monthly or annual plan, your first two weeks are free!

RunSmart is a one-stop shop that helps runners over 40 to run fast & injury-free.

Included when you join:

  • Easy-to-add strength workouts that support pain-free running
  • Yoga for runners to improve mobility, posture & flexibility
  • 24/7 access on any device to train anywhere
  • TV streaming on Airplay and Chromecast

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