Clinics Library

Strength Training and Nutrition for (Ultra)Running

Mike will be taking you through the key strength training exercises that he implements on a weekly basis to avoid injury while building up the miles into ultra-length runs. Mike will also go over the concept of clean nutrition and how this pertains to running (no, not just keto….the concept of clean nutrition overall).

The Importance of Strength Training

When you just work one plane (sagittal plane) like a lot of runners do you’re going to create muscle imbalances and muscle imbalances create pressure on joints create pressure on muscles.

 

Muscle imbalances can really can really mess the game up for runners that don’t focus on other core muscles – this creating those muscle imbalances. For runners, the shins and glutes tend to become weaker and a lot of runners have IT band issues just like a lot of runners have shin splints – the majority of these injuries arise from muscle imbalance. 

 

Looking to get out and run as much as you can as much as time permits with your busy schedules? It’s understandable but if you follow these ultra running strength training guidelines – it could potentially change the game, especially if you experience injury or knee pain.

Wall Sits:

Five minutes in one go or five reps of one minute. 

If you need, do a bunch of second wall sits throughout the day to slowly build strength.

Lateral Band Walks:

Walk back and forth about 5 times.

With resistance band around your legs, lightly arch your back and make sure your knees are not over your toes and then side-step sideways to feel the glute stretch.

Air Squats:

Make sure your knees are not over your toes but in-line with your toes to do simple air squats.

Single Leg Squats:

Find something like a chair to put one leg on and then go down in one single leg squatting motion.

Mountain Climbers:

Make sure your arms are close to your body again and when you go down bring your knee up and touch your arm like that and that’s a good way to also engage your core and work at the front of the front part of your shoulders

Squat Jumps:

Squat Jumps are killer but in a similar fashion to the air spot make sure you’re going down enough and then jump up.

Mike’s Strength Training Routine for Ultra Running

I strength train three times a week and the way I do it is that I dedicate about 40-45 minutes a day for strength training. I do 15 minutes of core a day because it helps with breathing and it’s another way to help with form because if you have a strong core your back’s not going to give out.


After 15 minutes of core exercises – I start the the full body routine and then I do 25 minutes of the full body routine that is mixed with some presses and again it’s just super light focusing on range of motion and keeping the muscles engaged like the majority of what you saw earlier with the wall sets and the banded lateral walks and the air squats those are the majority of what I do with my lower body all week I just do a lot of reps.

If you would like to learn about my recovery process, read 5 Recovery Tips for Ultra-runners.

MIKE'S Nutrition SUPPLEMENTATION for ULTRA RUNNING

Electrolytes

Electrolytes will improve your recovery tremendously the majority of people are not getting enough electrolytes (potassium sodium magnesium calcium) Gnarly Hydrate has all those in it!

BCAAS

I don’t take anything before the majority of my workouts. Afterwards though I try to get in 1-2 scoops of Gnarly BCAAs within a couple hours of my workout. 

Protein

Then I also drink Gnarly Protein shakes and I also try to take that within a couple hours after my workouts.

Gnarly athlete Mike McKnight completed his first ultra in 2013, and has done dozens since. He specializes in longer distance, multi day events. In 2019 he won each 200 miler in Destination Trail’s Triple Crown of 200s (three 200 mile races in two months). This year he became the first person to run 100 miles without intaking any calories (18:39​), as well as set a new FKT on the Colorado Trail.

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