12th Podcast

In this episode of the Podcast It's a long road we will talk about strength and conditioning, their roles and the benefits we can get by adding them to some of our weekly workouts. 


Hello to all of you

In this episode of "It's a long road» we will talk about her empowerment and the physical improvement, the roles and the benefits we can get by adding them to some of our weekly workouts.

A mistake most runners make is that they train but neglect it strength training which is considered as important as training. I'd say it's imperative. Strengthening is a key part of training because it maximizes performance, improves running economy, protects against injury and strengthens muscles and bones. Personally, in the program given to me by my coach, Vassilis Krommidas he also has 3 times a week strength exercises. Simple exercises that anyone can do anywhere. Trunk, abs, legs and not to forget the necessary stretching at the end of each workout, which I'm sure most of you neglect, but we'll talk about stretching specifically in another episode. But it is not a shame to spend, for example, an hour doing intense intervals or to do 3 hours a Long Run and not spend another ten minutes doing some exercises too?

In order to protect one's musculoskeletal system such as muscles, bones, ligaments, but also to maximize one's performance, it is good to follow a strengthening program. This program should include exercises of various types and be personalized according to personal needs, available time, body type and general fitness level.

Most amateur runners, if you notice, have a flabby body, because they are not so much concerned with building it, but also with their diet. They focus on aerobic fitness and are only interested in running itself and nothing else. Basically I think long distance runners feel trapped in the question, stronger or thinner? It is not necessarily that bad, but the trend of the time and various studies, urge an overall more beautiful image and a more toned body. So more and more people are adding at least 2 to 3 times an hour of gymnastics with weights and resistances. And don't look at elite runners who are very thin and completely different from sprinters, because there we are talking about different types of training, different goals and different data.

Personally, I decided at the beginning of 2020 to focus a little more on my body and its strengthening and to incorporate a new program and habits into my daily life. Yes, I had the classic strength exercises built into my workouts, but I wanted to take it a step further and hit the gym with weights. Not to increase muscle mass, but to do a more complete strengthening.

So here too I turned to the specialist Nikos Papakostas. Incredibly organized with a lot of knowledge in all subjects and with many manuals and detailed guides that will make you understand in every detail all the stages and purposes of each exercise. The strength program was based on the fact that my main concern was running. In any case, with puffs and extreme gymnastics, I would not want to spoil all that I managed to achieve and loved. That is, running. THE Nikos he put me on a program where we would focus exclusively on strengthening and building the body with proper exercise combined with proper nutrition. Until then, I was generally very good at my weight, but I didn't pay much attention to my diet, in the sense that I did pay attention, but I didn't have a fixed diet plan and I didn't pay much attention to what I ate in general. I might not eat breakfast, for example, after training I wouldn't eat again and details like that.

The weights and resistance program is updated on a monthly basis, so there is a variety in both exercises and the machines I use. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when all the gyms were closed, I got to know TRX. We necessarily had to focus on the new data and find new forms of fitness and exercises that could be done either at home or outside. I particularly liked the TRX program given to me by Nikos and it inspired me. I followed it for about 4 months and still follow it on some special occasions when I can't use the gym. However, the program I have for both the gym and the TRX is for 3 weekly training sessions, lasting more or less 50 minutes each time. One day includes training with push-ups, chest, shoulders and triceps. Day 2 pull-ups, back, biceps. 3rd day legs and torso.

The construction and the first results were starting to be seen slowly. My body tightened, muscles were starting to show, I looked more toned and overall I was on a very good path and very happy. Don't imagine anything crazy, but the difference compared to the beginning was very noticeable. But my biggest achievement was that I felt much more stable and strong in my runs, which is what I had focused on and wanted in the first place.

Basically we have 2 types of muscles. Fast and slow twitch. Athletes running big distances tend to have more highly developed slow-twitch muscle fibers, while sprinters typically have more fast-twitch muscles. Yes, even we long-distance runners mainly use slow-twitch muscles, but in some exercises such as intermittent or Tempo Runs we also use the fast-twitch muscles. Anaerobic exercise of the two types of muscles we have (fast and slow twitch) mainly uses the fast twitch muscles at very high intensity.

Over the years, that is, as we grow older, the muscles gradually decrease, but so does the range of our stride. So if we don't deal with them at all, over time we will have some negative consequences. The best solution, of course, is the gym, since there, with the help of the instruments and the professionals who work there, a more complete job can be done, but also exercising at home, either with guidance or on our own, can again have amazing results . You can also easily find some exercises on the internet that focus on some muscle groups that are more important for runners.

If you want the simplest form of strengthening, I would suggest that you put in your program the bends, abdominals, backs, simple and reverse plank and sit-ups. 2 to 3 times a week for about 15 minutes is enough and you will feel the difference and all the benefits in a short time. If you still want something different, you can try methods and systems for strengthening with exercises with rubber bands, crossfit, TRX, etc.

In summary, with empowerment we achieve:

  • Stronger bones and muscles
  • We maximize our performance and endurance
  • We are improving road economy
  • We protect ourselves from injuries, but we also recover faster from them
  • We get a muscularly symmetrical and beautiful body
  • We maintain our muscle and bone mass over the years.

Follow a proper program of strength training and you will reap multiple benefits in your running as well, and you will likely see your performance improve, while significantly reducing the chances of injury.

As a general rule, however, what you do in relation to strengthening can only bring you benefits, but keep in mind the following distinctions. Gymnastics and exercise are one thing, physical activity is another and that is another fitness. Exercise has a specific time, specific intensity, duration and function. It helps our body not only organically but also psychologically. Physical activity is not specific, it has no intensity and dosage. It has to do with the fact that we have to walk during the day, go shopping, play with our children, simple things that many have neglected. There are people who have no physical activity at all, like for example 10 minutes of walking during the day. Finally, fitness is a more professional approach to fitness that requires consistency, sacrifices, deprivation and a specific diet and lifestyle.

Thank you so much for listening to me!

Until next time, Be well be healthy and always do what we love and what makes us feel good.

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