I grew up believing in strength.
Being strong was good.
Strength was useful.
If you were strong, you could DO more stuff.
Strength to me was something like Arnold Schwarzeneggar in Predator…hoisting traps into trees…killing bad guys…battling crazy huge (but totally jacked and awesome) aliens.
It was Rambo, helping the small independent tribes in the mountains of Afghanistan defeat the more powerful Russian communist army.
As it was portrayed, if you were strong, you were harder to kill.
When I was in high school, I ran Cross Country and Track and not because I wanted to. I ran because I was fast and I excelled at it. What I really wanted to do was play football. But my parents were adamantly against it, having heard too many stories of ACL tears and shoulder injuries.
Even though I ran CC/track, being strong was still very important to me. Thus, when I would step on the line as a senior to run the mile, I would usually outweigh my opponents by a good 15-20lbs. I was the bigger, stronger kid and it showed. While my endurance was good enough to hold on to the leaders, my strength is what gave me the kick at the end of pass the other runners. In high school I won the national title in the mile at 4:04 and ran 1:49.1 in the 800m the summer of my senior year.
Somewhere in college and directly after I lost sight of how important strength was.
I bought into the idea that you had to weigh 130lbs to be a successful track athlete.
In college, I experienced nominal success. I earned All American status 3x and won multiple ACC championships. I was a potential contender in the middle distances but never considered one of the best, which was bothersome to say the least. My weight slowly declined. Injuries were always on the horizon.
It wasn’t until I found CrossFit and the CrossFit Endurance program that changed the way I saw myself as an athlete and a “runner”.
I COULD be strong and fast.
They were not mutually exclusive.
In fact, they were mutually beneficial!
Unfortunately the benefits of strength training were lost on the endurance community up until recently.
A recent article from FloTrack states:
Though Peter Coe championed strength training 30 years ago and Salazar is helping to make it popular again, for many years weight training was thought to be detrimental. Ever mindful of their mass, runners avoided weights fearing the possibility of bulking up. Salazar takes this fear head on and dismisses it. “It’s very hard to bulk up. I’ve never seen a single athlete of mine bulk up.”
“Bulking up not only means lifting really hard but eating a ton, and it’s very hard to gain weight. Not even a single one of my athletes have gained 2lbs. The only one’s that have gained a little bit of weight have been the girls… because they haven’t been as muscularly toned… but it’s good functional muscle that actually allows them to compete better.”
…To make it to the next level, strength training is a must.
What does your current training program look like?
I currently create strength templates (and running templates) that coincide with the endurance athletes running program to make them stronger, faster and a more injury proof athlete. If you’re interested, I would love to help! Send me an email or catch me on FB or Twitter.
Never Let It Rest,