Looking to take your running to the next level? Perhaps win a running race, complete your first fun run? Or hey, maybe you just simply want to start running and ensure you stay injury-free! If so, this is a MUST READ!

You may already be familiar with the term Strength Training, or have previously read up on a few benefits about it (there are MANY). But how does this all affect your ability to run??

Well, if you are not doing STRENGTH TRAINING as a runner, you are in fact negatively affecting your PERFORMANCE…. And here’s why!

Strength training can benefit running performance without any change in muscle mass quantity. Essentially, strength training can help improve how well you use what you already have!


Improvements in running performance after implementing strength training is due to changes in NEUROMUSCULAR function. Here’s why!

  1. Motor unit RECRUITMENT: larger motor units are recruited in response to greater loads or velocity. This threshold is lowered with strength training and causes an increase in rate of force development. This means you’ll be recruiting more muscle fibres to create movement. 

  2. Motor unit RATE CODING: Strength training improves the firing rate (coding) of motor units, thereby increasing our ability to produce force rapidly!

  3. Motor unit SYNCHRONISATION: Strength training improves the simultaneous activation of multiple motor units at a single time point, thereby increasing our rate of force development.

  4. NEUROMUSCULAR INHIBITION: neural feedback from both muscle and joint receptors can reduce force output (as a protective mechanism from unknown or ‘new’ stress). Strength training decreases regulation of this neural feedback, inhibiting antagonistic muscle groups and thereby increases force production!



So now you know the benefits, how do you get stuck in?

Well, our Sydney Exercise Physiologists recommend doing 3-5 reps at 80-100% of a 5 rep max, for 3 to 5 sets, twice a week. Make sure you include both bilateral (think back squats and deadlifts) and unilateral (think lunges and split squats) exercises into your program. This is also an advanced way of training, so ensuring proper technique and a solid foundation of strength first is a MUST.

WHO should be doing this?

Literally anyone that runs, of ANY AGE. Strength training is relative from person to person, and should be prescribed at specific intensities for each, depending on their background. So, it does not matter if you’re young, middle aged, or an older adult… the importance of performing strength based exercises as a runner to improve performance and reduce injury risk does not change.


If you’re unsure of how to train safely and correctly, or simply where to start, please make sure to seek out a qualified exercise professional. Our expert Sydney Exercise Physiologists can help!



An Accredited Exercise Physiologist will have the knowledge and the skills to provide you with a progressive strength program designed specifically to you, that will consider your lifestyle, body and goals, all while optimising performance and avoiding injury.

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in feel free to contact our friendly reception staff on 0294122222 or book online with our Sydney Exercise Physiologists. We have clinics based in Chatswood, North Sydney and Sydney CBD (near Wynyard station).

Choose one of the options below and get on the road to improving your RUNNING PERFORMANCE!


- Beattie, K., Et al (2016). The Effect of Strength Training on Performance Indicators in Distance Runners 
- Denadai, B., Et al (2016). Explosive Training and Heavy Weight Training are Effective for Improving Running Economy in Endurance Athletes: A Systematic review, 1-10 
- Yamamoto, L., et al (2008). The effects of resistance training on endurance distance running performance among highly trained runners: A systematic review, 22(6), 2036-2044