This content has been created in collaboration with New Balance.
Whether you’re a seasoned sprinter or a running newbie, there’s probably a vital element missing from your training plan. Raw strength. “A lot of guys think improving their personal best just comes from running the same distance on repeat, but there’s a much smarter way to speed up,” says Richie Norton (@thestrengthtemple), PT and New Balance ambassador. Here’s his four-point guide to how effective strength training will help you pick up the pace.
You don’t have to lift big to level-up your lower-body power. The best way to ignite explosive strength for race day is to ditch the barbell and opt for bodyweight moves. “Any solid running training plan is built on calisthenic sessions,” says Richie. “Workouts filled with moves like bodyweight squats, pistol squats and lunges train your muscle fibres to release a lot of power in a short space of time.” Plus, these low-stress circuits shrink down your recovery time, so your muscles can spend less time repairing and more time racking up the miles.
Sculpt up top
Show us a person who enjoys legs day and we’ll show you a liar. Luckily, to upgrade your speed, building your upper body is key. “Not only will moves like press-ups stabilise your back and chest to give you better running posture, they’ll also improve your arm strength,” says Richie. Usain Bolt doesn’t have those biceps for nothing, you know. Dedicate at least one workout a week to using body weight moves like press-ups and triceps dips to work your chest and arms.
Put your weak foot forward
Conventional thinking dictates if you want to build powerful legs you’ve got to focus on exercises that target several leg muscle groups at once. But moves which concentrate the workload on a single leg, or even a single leg muscle, have their place too.
“Moves like two-legged squats can do wonders for your body, but they won’t iron out muscle imbalances,” says Richie. “Using pistol squats to target your weaker leg helps to balance power evenly in your lower-body, which will maximise your final explosive output.”
Mind your mindset
Bursting out the blocks isn’t just about physical strength; you’ve got to add brain training to your fitness plan to smash your PB. “Throughout every training session you have to really ask yourself ‘who is the competition?’ The answer: yourself,” says Richie. “No matter who’s facing you on race day, it’s only your time that matters – your training. Keep that focus and you’ll have the motivation to pull out your best session yet.”
New Balance Toughest Opponent is a story about the battles we have within ourselves. The niggling mind games that play out between our ears that make us question whether to run that extra mile, to lift that heavier weight, or to go forward and push harder, faster and stronger than we did the day before. Find out more at: http://www.newbalance.co.uk/TougestOpponent.
You are your toughest opponent.