One of the most common misconceptions is that muscle will weigh down a runner, so he won’t be able to run fast. However, when it comes to running, you need good posture and technique. To help that, we do a lot of upper body work. Having a strong core and upper body will help a runner keep his posture upright and legs moving forward.
Being weak in the core and upper body can lead to bad posture when running long distances. This in turn can lead to bad running technique, which can further slow down a runner. Running places a lot of stress on the lower back. If it isn’t strong enough, running form will be hindered.
All you want to do is tone the upper body; keep it healthy. This will help you make it through a long distance race. Many distance runners don’t realize this until they actually work on their upper bodies; then they see how it helps prevent their form and technique from breaking down towards the end of the race.
Here’s a weight-training exercise our distance runners perform to tone their upper bodies—not turn them into throwers.
• Kneel on one knee and hold five-pound dumbbells in each hand
• For 10 seconds, pump your arms as though you are running in place
• Switch to other knee; repeat
• Kneel on both knees; repeat
• Perform 3 reps per position at 10 seconds each
• Stay upright and keep back straight
Is Ys & Ts
• Standing in upright position, hold five- or 10-pound weights in each hand
• Raise arms laterally over head into “I” position; return to start position
• Raise arms laterally to a 45-degree angle from shoulders into “Y” position; return to start position
• Raise arms laterally to shoulder height in “T” position; return to start position
• One completion of each position is one rep
• Perform 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps