Staying Strong and Going the Distance
Staying Strong and Going the Distance

Staying Strong and Going the Distance

Today’s blog comes from Mark Toomey, CEO of StrongFirst Inc. StrongFirst operates on the simple principle that basic strength is the building block for whatever type of performance or athleticism you are trying to create within yourself. Their programs are designed to build a better body through functional strength training. Check out their website and you’ll quickly understand that StrongFirst is not concerned with vanity or arrogance. We like them because they’re the natural enemy of the average gym rat in a cut of shirt and shades screaming out reps in front of the mirror. Basically, they had us at functional.

We asked Mark to give us an fundamental strength program for someone whose primary sport sits firmly in the world of endurance (listen up all you runners, cyclists, tri-geeks, etc). We’re going to be bringing his full article to you over the next couple of days and hopefully you’ll be as impressed as we are with his knowledge and do-it-right approach. Read below to find out what Mark has to say about how you can improve your endurance performance with some strength training –it’s pretty interesting stuff!


Being StrongFirst
Owning a company called StrongFirst is sort of like owning a business called Dave’s Mustard-and-Relish-Covered Hot Dogs; you’ve kind of told people from the get-go what you’re about.

My partner and I believe that strength training has a primary place in every person’s life, be they a professional athlete or a weekend warrior. Strength, in our world is a primary skill and we treat it as such, adhering to technique, practice and principles. Scurrying from workout to workout without a clear idea of how it supports our activities outside the training facility is just, as my friend Rif says, random acts of variety and it finds no ear amongst our ilk.

StrongFirst for endurance
But what if you’re a long distance runner, a competitive biker, or a tri-athlete? What if your performance is measured by the time it takes you to move your body mass from Point A to Point B? Is it worth diverting precious time allotted for practice and training to spend a few hours a week in a dark, sometimes smelly, training facility with a barbell and a few kettlebells? The science would appear to say yes.

Training Correctly
Notice I said a few hours. Not one-to-two hours, five days a week, strapped to a leg extension machine or an upright climber. Mastering the basics of strength training, the squat, the deadlift and the press, either bench or standing military, in two to three weekly, forty-five minute training sessions can help you once you climb on the bike, or lace up your running shoes.

Come back tomorrow because Mark’s going to get down and dirty about why strength training really makes sense for any endurance athlete.

Mark Toomey, BS, CSCS is the CEO of StrongFirst, Inc and a Senior SFG Instructor. He serves as a Subject Matter Expert for the Department of the Navy and the United States Marine Corps and has written educational material for fitness companies worldwide. He can be reached at

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