by Jeff Knight
“There are no shortcuts. Be patient and look long-term…..Consistency is the secret to improvement and success….”
-Robert de Castella, 1983 World Marathon Champion (c/o: Wikipedia)
At its core, running is pretty easy. As Deek (Rob de Castella, (Rogue in spirit)(amazing mustache)) points out, the key to success is consistency. It ain’t sexy. In fact, its frustratingly simple. It’s truly #JFR.
However, as anyone that has trained seriously for running knows, consistency is easier said then done. You know why. The dreaded “i” word. It starts there and ends with a “y”. Hint: its NOT “inebriate…y”, although that to sometimes interferes with consistency too.
Oh yes, that i-word. Injury not only sucks/makes us a crazy person, it breaks consistency.
Now, there are a lot of things accredited to injury prevention. Sleep, hard-days hard and easy-days easy, the super secret potions or tips that you find carefully placed within the shady side-bar ads on less snazzy websites (you know you’ve clicked it!!), diet and hydration… these are all great examples. But one thing that should be considered is strength training; aka ancillary training.
Anyone that’s visited a PT knows that strength training is important. In fact, ancillary training and physical therapy look a lot alike. Some people go as far as calling it prehab (preventative-….hab). In the end though, it’s usually a series of goofy exercises focused upon those pesky little muscles that have no effect on how we look naked. However, those pesky little muscles go a long way in keeping us healthy and running consistently.
What’s the hold up though? Other sports get it. Soccer, football and basketball players, among others. all spend time in a gym. They all do strength and conditioning training. For some reason though, we runners are reluctant unless it makes us look better naked.
Sure, there is no advantage to being “big” when it comes to running (in fact, it’s a disadvantage) but there is advantage in making our running muscles more capable of handling the demands of running. In fact, recent studies go as far as suggesting that running injuries due to overuse can be cut in HALF with strength training. That’s better injury prevention than those super-cool, high-tech shoes in just the right color (it HAS to be the right color to work).
Even if we get into the gym, ancillary training can be hard to manage. As I alluded to, ancillary training looks more like PT and less like a crunch, a burpee or something you do in Crossfit (I’m self-aware enough to admit that there is a time and place for vanity training but that’s not what you are doing in ancillary. Seriously, I’m extremely vain.) Ancillary training, doing little to make us look better in our split shorts, is balance, coordination and asymmetrical exercises we’d rather do in the dark….alone…when no one can see us. But, and this is a big BUT, they make running better. Worth it? Yes! Even considering all the hassle, counter-intuitive nature and sacrificed ab-time? Still YES!
So here’s the logic. Running specific strength training strengthens muscles we use for running, these muscles are now more resistant to injury, meaning we can train more consistently. That in turn leads to improvement. I.e., ancillary training supports running. Period.
Ancillary -> Consistency (=JFR)-> PRs
Now, the value of running-specific strength training (ancillary training) goes beyond helping you run consistently, as many blogs in the pseudoscience realm of training will tell you. Ancillary training is also likely to improve running economy & late race mechanics, give you a sexy booty, help your gait, make you feel like a 1-year old learning to walk, increase your lactate threshold and help your hill running but, for this blog, lets leave it at consistency.
So really, ancillary training is an inherent part of JFR. It’s also a fantastic option for currently injured runners – get in your rehab, develop additional strength and keep yourself immersed in the community. A win-win!
Ready to defeat the “i” word? We’ve got options at both Rogue locations:
DOWNTOWN: Rogue Ancillary meets on Mondays & Wednesdays at 6am. This class is open to runners of ALL levels, and is also a great option for currently injured runners. Try it for FREE August 25 & 27 or September 15 & 17!
CEDAR PARK: Rogue X incorporates a combination of track based workouts mixed with calisthenics and plyometric routines, promoting better form, a faster kick and reduced risk of injury. The next round begins September 3!
Jeff Knight is the head of all things training at Rogue Running, and loves to apply his scientific background to this role. He also coaches Team Rogue el Jefe, a year-round training program designed for experienced, driven runners.