You’re only as strong as your next leg day. It doesn’t matter what your running resumé is or how much you can bench press — the squat rack is the great equalizer.
What I don’t get about runners though, is their avoidance to hit the gym or do weighted exercises. This isn’t to say that “gym-bros” aren’t more afraid of cardio (they no doubt are). But runners and gym avoiders NEED to get over their fear of the gym if they expect to gain any sizable muscle.
Often it isn’t that the gym scares them, instead, it’s that they see the gym as beneath them. Muscle is for the meatheads I’ve heard thrown around. And besides, staying lighter is better for running anyway.
Fine, no arguments from me — but, why not work out your legs then?
Your legs are no doubt strong from all the mileage you put on them. But compared to what they’d be if you ran and weight trained would be insurmountable.
Some of the top running programs around the world train with heavyweights. Hugo van den Boek, a 2 hour 12-minute marathon runner and head coach of a top Kenyan program uses weight training for his athletes.
Many runners could increase stride length and improve running form generally, if they incorporated some strength and power work. Doing weight lifting is the base for that! — Hugo van den Boek
The King of All Lifts
What better exercise for legs than what is often deemed the “king of all lifts,” the squat.
If the gym was a university, the squat rack would be a philosopher. You will experience enlightenment from a few sets of heavy squats. Over the years I’ve gone to the rack as a boy and come back a man (until the next leg day of course).
Trust me, I’m by no means a squat guru. I’m just as scared as you when I approach a squat rack, or when I tuck myself into bed and remember that tomorrow is “leg day.” The only difference is I never let my fear stop me — especially because I know training my legs with weight will make me a better runner.