Strength training is essential for endurance athletes. Increasing your strength training during the off-season will reap huge benefits when you begin to prepare and during the race season. It will help you perform at a higher level and will aid you in improving speed, help you to increase distance and will help stave off injury. The off-season is the perfect time to create your foundation of strength training.
Endurance sports are made of repetitive movements. Over and over again we work and often overwork the same muscle groups. The proper strength training can help limit or correct muscles imbalances. Ideally you want to work all of your body. Too often people work only muscles they can see, the pecs, quads, biceps, etc. Yet the powerhouses are the muscles in the back. Make sure to work out the back muscles, the inner core muscles, the gluteus maximus, the hamstrings. You also want to work the smaller muscles as well, the trapezius in the back, the gluteus medius, the inner and outer thigh muscles, the quadratus lumborum, and so on. Don’t get stuck in the same exercises over and over, try new ones.
The aim during this time is get ready for the heavy load of the training season. Aim for three times a week. Once endurance training starts, maintain your strength training. Obviously as you increase the work load, you’ll have less time for strength training, even once or twice a week will be beneficial. Build your foundation now and reap the benefits on race day