Distance runners: LIFT your way to a new PR. 

Jackie Pirtle Hall runs. She runs alot. 
Because she is among the elite in her sport of marathon running, the demands her training puts on her free time can be overwhelming. 

Hall typically runs around 80 miles per week. Unbelievably, this number is dwarfed by some of her peers who run 120-130 miles in a week. 

Running that distance, even really fast, takes a considerable amount of time.

Even if you aren’t at an elite level, running the distances required of marathon or half marathon training can be tough with a busy schedule. 

Hall recognizes this, as she is a high school teacher and a mom of a 3 year old. The time she spends in training must be as productive as they can be. 

As Hall puts it, “every single extra minute I spend training has to yield results, and I only have time for the most productive minutes.”

That means, at a certain point in her mileage for the week, any additional mile run would start to give back smaller returns. 

So, minute for minute, what will give a runner like Hall, after a certain point in her running training, an increased return (in terms of running faster, longer)?

Strength training will. Strength training for endurance athletes has shown tremendous results as far as running economy (how fast energy is burned) and stronger kicks when needed in a race. 

If youve ever witnessed the end of a long distance race, you will notice how most of the runners come in slouched forward with very short strides. This is because the demands on the muscles that keep them upright were beyond the capability of the muscles to do so. 

This posture is not conducive to a comfortable or energy efficient run. In fact, it will drain energy from you, quickly. 

Hall recognized this posture in herself and began a training regimen that focused on the back side of her body, along with the 29 muscles of the core that work together to stabilize her hips and spine. 

Hall also performs some of the classic strength training exercises with strength-endurance in mind. Squats, deadlifts, lunges, and certain power lifts are no stranger to her weekly training regimen. 

The result? Almost 26 minutes shaved off her marathon PR. 

Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS