ChiRunning’s Strength Training Triad
It’s widely accepted that you can improve your running performance with strength training. We agree you need strength training, but it’s not just physical strength that we’re talking about. If physical strength training is all you're focusing on, you’re not getting the most out of your training time.
In ChiRunning, real improvement in performance comes from balancing three pillars of strength training:
· Physical strength training
· Mental strength training
· Psychological strength training
1. Physical strength training is directed towards the following:
- Improving your core strength and increasing your cardio/aerobic conditioning to prepare your body for increasing speed or distance.
- It is also needed to correct any structural imbalances or muscle weakness from lack of use.
- Alongside your strength training should be lots of stretching and focused relaxation to promote good range of motion and efficiency in your stride.
2. Mental strength training is about three main things:
- Education: Knowing what you should be doing at any given moment: whether it’s which Form Focus you need in the moment, or how much you should be fueling and hydrating. Educate your mind. It’s training your mind to know what to do, when to do it, and why.
- Building mental muscle: The best way to strengthen your mind is just like physical strength training…you want to do regular repeats. If you’re practicing to swing your arms correctly, your attention will last only a few minutes, unless you bring your mind back to the focus over and over again until it becomes natural for your body. THIS is mental strength training at it’s best. Your mind gets stronger and your body get wiser.
- Body Sensing: Mental strength training would never be complete without lots of practice in Body Sensing which is really the art of listening carefully to what your body is telling you, and then responding appropriately with the right physical adjustment.
3. Emotional/psychological strength training is the third branch of strength training. Having a positive attitude going into an event is crucial to a successful outcome. This attitude is supported by (and a byproduct of) all that physical and mental strength training you do. You can have all the strength and education in the world, but if you don’t have the “fuel” of a positive attitude, your odds of success diminish dramatically. When you are physically and mentally strong, it supports a positive outlook and greater potential for success. A good attitude backed up by physical and mental strength can insure the results you’re looking for. And if you need to get physically stronger, or build your mental muscle, one that is focused and strategic, a positive attitude will help you achieve these goals as well.
These three strengths work as a team. You want to make sure you are working on all 3 aspects of “strength training” over the course of your training, with none of them working alone, and each supporting the other. A strong mind directs your body well; a strong body responds more quickly and accurately to the directions of your mind and a strong psyche gives you the confidence to accomplish your goals and gain deeper wisdom from your running. With this triad in place you’ll have the wherewithal to meet any challenge, whether it’s internal or external.