Runners need to lift weights.  And I mean heavy weights.  Even if you don’t want to be a bodybuilder, you need weights for strength training and for maintaining muscle mass.

1.    Improve Run Speed

You’ll notice your pace increasing when you add heavy weight training to your routine.  I’m not talking about a few casual sets of leg machines.  I’m talking about all-out squats with good form and maximum weight for sets of 6 to 8.  And fast deadlifts and squats will give you some extra power for your shorter runs.

2.    Improve Run Endurance

Doing 45 minutes of hard-core weight training, without too large a rest between sets, is really tiring.  Assuming your are lifting with intensity.  And I don’t know about you, but multiple sets of deadlifts leave me quivering and wanting to curl up in a dark room.  But I don’t stop – I keep going.  And that endurance, plus the added muscle fibers, increase your running endurance too.

3.    Burn More Calories

Yeah, 1 hr of running burns more immediate calories than 1 hr of lifting.  But adding 10 lbs of muscle will burn an extra 45 calories EVERY DAY EVEN AT REST.

4.    Running Erodes Muscle

If all you do is run, especially steady-state, long-distance running, your body will pull energy from your muscles.  This leaves you with less lean body mass.  Yet more muscle has been linked to reduced rates of cancer, increased done density, and a number of other important age-related health benefits.  And don’t forget that sarcopenia (the natural loss of muscle mass) starts in the your 30s and progresses rapidly after 50.  If you are only running, you are going to waste away.

5.    Prevent Injury

It should be obvious that stronger muscles prevent injury.

6.    Normal Life

Doesn’t involve a lot of running around unless you are under 12 yrs old.  And even then, it’s quick bursts of running, which is more strength than endurance.  Normal life does involve lifting things all day long.  To be sure, normal life likely involves sprinting, but how many of you are really sprinting as part of your runs, rather than jogging?  You should.

7.    It’s Raining

If it’s cold and snowy or rainy, I hate running.  And I can’t stand treadmills.  So if you are serious about running but have to miss a run because of weather, head for the weight room.

8.    It’s Fun/Breaks Up Monotony

I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but weight lifting is fun!  I can’t imagine the monotony of running being all that I do.

8.5    You’ll Look Better

I guess this is subjective, but I hate the skinny-fat look you see on so many runners.  You know, where a 5’10” guy is 130 lbs but still looks somewhat flabby?  Weight training intensely with heavy weights will put some meat on them thar bones!

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