Doing upper body weight training will help increase your endurance. Many runners find that toward the end of a long run or race, they feel tired across their shoulders and in their arms. They may also find themselves tightening up in their shoulders. Keeping these muscles strong will help with this.
Having strong arms will also help you with your speed and hill running. Cranking those arms will help you move up that hill or help you with that finishing sprint.
Weight training will help you reduce your risk of injury. Doing leg extensions on a bench is a great way to help treat and prevent “runner’s knee”. Leg weight training will also help you keep your leg muscles balanced. Many injuries are caused due to muscle imbalance – you use certain muscles for running and the other muscles become weak. Keeping those legs strong all over will help prevent this – and actually make you run stronger.
Many runners also find that after a program of working out with weights, they start running faster. They are running longer without feeling tired with the help of building their muscles all over. If you are running stronger than you are able to keep up your proper running form.
Remember working out with weights for runners is not about building bulk. You want to use strength training to help you become an overall more efficient runner. Pick weights that you can life 10 – 15 times easily. It is more important to do more repetitions with a lighter weight.
You only need about 15-30 minutes for weight training two or three times a week. This is enough to build up your strength and endurance without the bulk. Also, you don’t need to go out and join an expensive gym. Get a simple weight bench with leg extensions and some dumbbells. That’s all you need. I find that it’s easier to go to my basement for my weight workout. You can work it in during one of your favorite TV shows.