I remember a run late last year, I was running from my workplace in Nanjing, China, down south along the Yangtze River towards the Youth Olympic precinct. I remember feeling really average on that run and as though I was running really slowly, (I probably was actually running slowly but had given up on using my Garmin because I didn’t want to know just how slowly I was going). Part of my reason for running down south was that there is some open grass areas near the precinct and I was planning on doing some run throughs on the soft surface to help stretch my legs out, as a change from running on inner city concrete footpaths around China. I stepped onto the grass, tried to increase my speed but my pace did not change. I was so sore and weak through my stabilizer muscles and had no drive through my hips and legs to increase my pace. Being a dramatic distance runner, in that moment, I thought I would never be able to run fast again, ever!
Fast forward 6 months, and I’ve started to experience a feeling that I only get when my fitness is building up and I’ve been doing regular strength and conditioning sessions. In the last week I’ve started to notice, particularly during a threshold session and when running up hills, that when I start to fatigue, my legs are still able to drive forward, my hips feel square and I feel as though I’m holding my form, despite the fatigue.
I had always considered my gym sessions as a 1%er, along with other 1%ers such as quality sleep, recovery, massage and nutrition, but this feeling of strength of late has left me feeling as though the gym sessions have got to be worth at least 2%.
I would never replace a running session with a gym session, gym sessions compliment my running program.
No offense to the other 1%ers mentioned above, each of those aspects play a vital role in any training program.
For actual physiological benefits of a strength and conditioning program, speak to an exercise physiologist.