Jim Ryun Running Camp

Strength Training for Runners

First of all, let's establish one thing. 

If you want to become a better runner, what do you have to do? You have to run. 

However, there are a lot of auxiliary components that make great runners. Nutrition, rest and strength training are a few that come to mind. These components create the complete, dynamic runner and allow you to achieve great performances.

On the topic of strength training, we are big believers in runners lifting heavier weights and lower reps versus the converse of lighter weights and high reps. Running builds endurance, lifting builds strength.

Here is a great article on that from Competitor.com on How Should Runners Lift Weights?

From the article:

The real key is knowing how to lift weights effectively. Runners are not bodybuilders and they are not lifting just for general health. Instead, they’re lifting for three main reasons:

  1. To get stronger
  2. To prevent injuries
  3. To race faster

When accomplishing these goals, runners need a different approach in the weight room than your typical boot camp class.

So shake up your paradigm this winter. Stop lifting light. Get in the weight room and challenge yourself! And as you do, remember the golden rule to improvement: Gradual adaptation. 

The Daniels' Running Formula

For years we have had the privilege of having Dr. Jack Daniels speak at the running camps. What I love about Jack's formula is that it's lab tested fact, not theory. If you are interested in becoming a better runner, then the Formula is for you. I tell the campers, "If you apply just parts of the Daniels' Running Formula, you will become better. It's that simple." 

From threshold to interval to repetition work and the critically important easy running, the Daniel's Formula gives you a step by step guide to running faster. Now, in a downloadable format, we are posting the distilled version of the Daniels' Running Formula. As a note, the VDOT app from Run Smart is the perfect compliment to this PDF. 

The Daniels' Running Formula


The Art of Running, Podcast #11: Rich Kenah

I think the first time I became aware of Rich Kenah was 1993 or 1994. I was flipping through Track and Field News (hard copy) and I saw the results of the USA Indoor 800m. Rich had placed 3rd in 1:48 point. Right then and there I started following his career. At that time, he wasn't always the fastest guy in the field, but he was always in the mix.

In 1996, at the Olympic Trials in Atlanta, I was trackside as Rich rolled past 600m in his 800m semi and he seemed to be finding more and more gears while the rest of his competitors hit the wall. He won going away, but in the final, Rich finished in the worst possible position at the Trials, much like my dad in 1972-4th. Top three go to the Olympics, fourth place stays home.

Rich and I met for the first time about 30 minutes after that race, deep in the tunnels underneath Olympic Stadium. I think he was still dazed after just missing the team, but he was gracious enough to spend 20 minutes or so chatting with me about his training. I didn't know it at the time, but another mutual friend, Craig Masback, would talk Rich into giving it at least one more year in the sport of track and field. And what a year it was for Rich.

First came the 1997 Indoor World Championships. Rich won the bronze. Then came the outdoor World Championships and again, Rich finished 3rd and won the bronze, going on to set his eventual PR at 800m of 1:43.38 that summer (to see the WC final, click here. To see his 1:43.38 PR behind Kipketer's 800m WR, click here) . 

Today Rich and his wife Cheri and their children live in Atlanta where Rich is the Executive Director of the Atlanta Track Club. We had a chance to record this podcast about 10 days ago. 



The Art of Running, Podcast #10: Jenny Simpson

I stil remember the first time I met Jenny Simpson. It was after her junior year in high school and she showed up at our Colorado camp on the recommendation of our good friends, Bernie and Clara Taylor. It wasn't just her running ability. It was the way she carried herself-she seemed older. And who could forget the "Everyone Was Kung Fu Fighting" routine she and another camper, Scotch Swango, did during halftime of Trivia Night?

Over the years Jenny has gone on to do great things in the sport of running, winning numerous NCAA Division I titles, becoming the World Champion at 1500m in 2011, silver medallist at the Worlds in 2013 and bronze medallist in the 1500m at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Today she is married to Jason (a great runner in his own right and an incredible artist) living and training in Boulder, CO.

I had a chance to connect with her over Zoom last week. The podcast is a little longer than usual, but we had a lot to discuss. 



The Art of Running, Podcast #9: Ben Payne

I am joined this week by my friend, Ben Payne. For years Ben and I have had many of the same friends but actually did not meet each other until this past summer when he joined us on staff at the Colorado running camp. Coached by Juli Benson, Ben placed 9th at the New York City marathon this past fall and is a guy who exemplifies consistency and perseverance. In this podcast we chat about Ben's journey in running and things he has learned along the way. 


The Art of Running, Podcast #9: Emily Hanenburg

In this episode of the Art of Running (recorded over last summer), I am joined by Coach Emily Hanenburg of The Classical Academy (TCA) in Colorado Springs, CO. A former camper and current counselor at the Jim Ryun Running Camp, Emily was a multiple Colorado state champion in high school while at TCA and went on to run on scholarship at the University of Colorado with Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn. A talented multi-sport athlete, Emily continues to dominate campers and staff alike in Ultimate Frisbee and pick-up basketball at camp. 




The Art of Running, Podcast #8: Coach Juli Benson

In this episode of The Art of Running (done remotely through Zoom.us), I get to chat with my longtime friend, Coach Juli Benson. Former coach at Georgetown and the Air Force Academy, Juli now coaches at the University of Pennsylvania and helped coach the women's cross country team to its first ever appearance at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships this past fall.

Juli was a great runner in her own right, an All-American and US Olympian (watch her make the 1500m team in 1996). In this podcast, we discuss training, mental preparation, specific advice Juli would give young female runners and a host of other subjects!. As Juli does a lot of TV broadcast these days, I did my best to toss her questions and stay out of the way and she crushed it.


The Art of Running, Podcast #7: Creating the Dynamic Runner

In this episode of The Art of Running, I am joined by Coach Aaron Yoder of Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS. A great friend, Aaron is also the WR holder in the retro mile (backwards running) with a 5:54 mile. His record was covered by Runner's World just over a year ago.

A former camper and current camp coach for the Jim Ryun Running Camp, Aaron is a wealth of knowledge, especially when it comes to building a more dynamic runner. In this podcast, we discuss the Lunge Matrix (click here to watch), drills (click here to read up on the A Skip), speed development and weight training for runners.


The Art of Running, Podcast #6: Ryan Hall

In this episode of The Art of Running, I am joined by former camper and Jim Ryun Running Camp counselor, Ryan Hall. Holder of a 2:04:58 marathon PR and the American Record holder in the half marathon at 59:43, Ryan is a two time Olympian and one of the most recognizable American distance runners over the last 10 years. In this episode, we discuss his career and some of his epic workouts.