A 2018 study reported that among Australian triathletes 50% took part in strength training, but only 40% of those athletes completed ‘heavy’ strength training, with females representing the minority of those.
On the flip side, I know of a female British elite athlete who can squat nearly two times her bodyweight and run a sub-16min 5km! Strength then, is no barrier to running quickly and could increase power and stride length, as well as improve balance, core control and reduce injury risk. However, some principles are important:
• Heavy lifting and aerobic running stimulate opposing adaptive systems, so separate strength and aerobic work as much as possible.
• If you train more than once in a day, consider doing leg and core work on swim days and upper and core work on a running day.
• Place heavy lifting in the first part of your training cycle, switching to more dynamic movements towards the season.
Remember breathe right
It’s all too easy to hold your breath while performing reps, but don’t. Exhale against the resistance and inhale on recovery. This will stop you fainting and help engage core muscles.
THE GYM SESSION FOR IMPROVING YOUR RUN
5-10mins easy on cross-trainer or rowing machine
All reps should be performed in a controlled manner
1 x20 squats
5 pelvic tilts , 10secs each
10 straight arm push-ups
10 hip rock-back
10 high knee to lunge
10 Yoga push-ups
Single leg destabilise, 45secs
4 plyometric jumps
2 xPlank w/leg lift, 45secs
Arabesque, 60secs each side
Plank hand lift to shoulder (slow), 45secs
Single-leg squat, 45secs
Plank rotation, 90secs
4 plyometric jumps
10mins easy on cross-trainer or rowing machine
For a full video of this routine, see below
Adapt for beginners
Focus on achieving good form before adding weight.
Adapt for Ironman
With good form, add higher weights for greater robustness.