As we head into run season and get closer to off-season training, it's essential to recognize the importance of strength and mobility training. While sometimes we will miss a session or two due to the demands of in-season training, it's critical to ensure we do our strength and mobility training throughout the year. The benefits of strength and mobility training are endless, not only for improved performance and reduced risk for injury. but to enhance our overall lifestyle, quality of life and longevity.
Strength and mobility training are essential components to reaching your highest performance in endurance sport. Mobility is the ability of the joints to move through a full range of motion freely and efficiently. Mobility exercises help to increase our efficiency in swimming, biking and running. Flexibility is a component of mobility. Dynamic warm-up exercises are good examples of mobility exercises.
Muscular strength is the external force that can be generated by a specific muscle or muscle group. Strength training improves our muscular strength and power resulting in improved performances in swimming, biking and running. Strength training plays an important role in injury prevention, reduces and removes existing imbalances and is shown to reduce fatigue in the latter portions of long endurance events. From a lifestyle perspective, strength training improves and maintains bone mass reducing risk for osteoporosis, improves and maintains muscle mass reducing and delaying sarcopenia (age related muscle atrophy), improves glucose tolerance and improves and maintains free fat mass and resting metabolic rate, resulting in more effective weight management. For women in peri- to post- menopause, strength training provides even greater benefits, read more on this in our article HERE.
Throughout the off-season, we have greater opportunity to enrich all of these areas through strength and mobility training. We can reduce overall training volume and intensity to an extent while bringing greater focus to our biggest areas of opportunity, whether that be the swim, bike or run and place a heavier emphasis on strength and mobility training. If you’ve never incorporated strength or mobility training, the off-season is a great time to begin making this a part of your regular routine.
The goal is to build up our muscular strength in the off-season through 1-3 strength sessions per week, depending on your starting point, and then maintain these gains in-season, lifting 1-2 times per week. The same goes for mobility exercises. Mobility exercises can be completed stand-alone, incorporated right into your strength sessions, completed before any swim, bike or run session or even completed as a part of your regular stretching.
While the off-season looks different than in-season, the change up in training provides great variety which is good both mentally and physically. For those that are not used to strength training, you will find your confidence will continue to rise as you grow in strength and become more comfortable using weights. With consistency, you will see the gains and results of off-season strength and mobility training in your performances next year.