Host: Dr. Matt Minard

Episode Summary

Dr. Matt Minard, the owner of Learn 2 Run, is a Physical Therapist who enjoys both the physical and mental benefits of running. He is passionate about helping others run safely.

In today’s episode, Dr. Minard concludes the 3-Part strength training series with the third aspect describing how to combine cross-training with resistance training using specific tools, as well as when exactly to incorporate both resistance training and body weight training.

If you prefer to watch this episode, you can!

Strength Training for Runners: Cross-Training + Resistance Training

Top Takeaways

  • “If we know that we’re going to be breaking down muscle tissue, we want to be specific about when we chose to do that in relationship to our running”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “Stairmaster is a great way to double dip both cardio and cross training”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “Our body always adapts to the demands placed on it”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “If we’re only doing a couple of reps and we’re not challenging the muscles how and more than they’re challenged when we run, we’re not going to see much benefit from strength training””
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]

Episode Highlights

  • [[02:15] Today’s topic; When do we start strength training exercises?
  • [03:20] What happens when we strength train a muscle?
  • [05:10] In-season vs off-season training.
  • [10:13] Incorporating in-season and off-season training into your weekly routine.
  • [14:22] The double dipping cross training and strength training.
  • [19:30] The elliptical vs stationary bike vs Stairmaster.
  • [23:38] Key points from the strength training series.

Episode Notes

This episode is the final part of the strength training series. The focus is on when to start strength training exercises.

There are 3 approaches to when to start:

  1. the first is in-season strength training vs off-season training
  2. followed by knowing when to train the 3 muscle groups (the Queen, the King, and the Kankle muscles)
  3. lastly, double dipping by combining cross-training with strength training.

When we strength train, we temporarily damage muscle tissue. The soreness in strength training is not due to lactic acid but other enzymes in the body like Bradykinin and cytokines. This breakdown of muscle tissue must be done with consideration given to our running. Hence, the disparity between the 2 forms of training: in-season and off-season.

In-season muscle training for runners

Young female marathon runner

In-season training refers to the period when you are actively involved in a structured training program. The goal of in-season training is to improve stability by working on the queen muscles (glute min, glute mid, and TFL) while maintaining the strength gained during the off-season training.

Strength training also helps with neurological adaptation and can be up to 3 times a week in the off-season. A practical example of this disparity is using only your body weight for in-season training but adding resistance through the use of weights during off-season training.

Example of in-season training

On Wednesdays, body weight exercises are performed, to work on the 3 muscle groups. This is followed by a run that allows the muscles to work while fatigued, thus increasing productivity. More work on the queen muscles on Fridays with cross training in between 2 sets of Queen muscles exercises.

Off-season muscle training for runners

Couple running on the beach

Off-season refers to the period in between such periods of structured training. The focus of the off-season is to increase power, especially with the tush (the king muscles like the Gluteus Maximus) and kankle muscles.

Example of off-season training

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, all 3 groups of muscles are worked on. However, resistance is increased on Monday and Friday while Wednesday is for bodyweight exercises done barefooted.


Cross-training is finding a way to challenge your heart, lungs, and legs without the impact of running (swimming, biking, canoeing). You can combine strength training with cross-training using machines like an elliptical, a stationary bike, and a Stairmaster.

These methods challenge the king and kankle muscles but not the queen. This is why the queen muscle exercises are done before and after. Resistance can be used on these machines to work on strength training in intervals of 1 minute each, alternating with non-resistance training for recovery.

The resistance can be such that it may not be very difficult at first but after a few repeated intervals, it gets challenging as the muscles tire. They can recover in the next minute.

Strength training

Men on a stationary bike

The elliptical machine, stationary bike, and Stairmaster are all tools that can help with cross-training but also have the ability to be utilized in strength training. The elliptical mimics the mechanics of running but without the impact that comes from landing. The bike may or may not be clipped in, although being clipped in helps to recruit more muscles. The Stairmaster is a great exercise to challenge all 3 muscle groups and double dip both cardio and cross training.

While swimming or other exercises are good, these machines generally help to combine both cross and strength training.

One of the key points from the strength training series so far is that it is crucial to train the muscles how they are used, and more than they are used in running. Additionally, it should be noted that muscles have 3 functions; they lift, hold, and lower either our body or objects.

The muscles involved in running are the queen of the glutes on the side of the buttocks, the king muscles, the hip flexors in the front of the hip which do not particularly need strengthening, and the kankle muscles (Quadriceps and calf muscles) which when grounded, cushion for the tush pushing while working overtime for hills. The hamstrings help to not bonk your shin but rather land and load your weight close to your center of mass.

To run faster, safer, and smarter, there are a few things to do. The first step is to join the Learn to Run Club. Next, fill out a “goals and history” intake. After which, you film yourself running. Then an exhaustive zoom session with Dr. Minard to delve deep into your running. Visit the Learn to Run website to start today.

To vote on the next topic that will be discussed follow Dr. Minard on Instagram. For professional help with running smarter, safer, and faster, check Dr. Minard’s online membership on his website.


Find | Dr. Matt Minard’s LEARN 2 RUN