I thought I’d go ahead and reference that article just for fun. I’ll say, first off, the article is intentionally full of tips that may surprise you. There are other parts of the article that highlight other common runner “truths” – like “always stretch”, “more speedwork”, and “more miles” and shares an alternate view. It’s kind of a light-hearted, but thought-provoking piece.
So, in the September issue of Runner’s World, the article is titled, The Rules Revisited and on page 58 is the “rule” –
Build Those Muscles — Conventional Thinking – Strength Training will make you a better runner.
Uncommon Wisdom — Skip the gym – you don’t run on your arms.
This part of the article quotes a top Kenyan coach, Toby Tanser, who says that Kenya has the highest concentration of world-class runners – and they don’t have access to gyms usually. He says that, “runner’s arms are needed only for balance, so an active lifestyle is all that is needed for arm strength, and that legs are best strengthened with running and plyometric drills.” He says, “… [strong] legs are like coiled springs; when they run they barely touch the ground” and “when a runner does a lot of gym work, it has a dampening effect on the springs. Watching runners go by in Central Park, I can spot which ones have gym memberships because the stride is out of line. Those who do nothing but run have pure symmetry because they have only strengthened the muscles needed for running.”
So…. does this mean I can live guilt-free and never lift another weight? No. I don’t think so. But, I did think it was an interesting take on things – -and it eased my lack of cross-training guilt a teeny weensy bit.