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Elite Trail Runners Strength Training

Being a trail runner myself and working as a personal trainer in a small private gym in Stellenbosch with a lot of runners and trail runners, I came to realize there is something most trail runners lack. Running strength!

Most of us put in the time and the miles on trails and on the road but we never give strength training a second though. Gym is for those unfortunate people that cant run, right? WRONG!

I started up a little gym training group that focuses on running specific strength and functional training and I have been getting amazing feedback from all the athletes. If you want to take your running to the next level you will definitely find some strength training will do just that.

Taking it a step further. About 3 months ago I started working with elite trail running superstar couple Landie and Christiaan Greyling and close friend Roelof Feenstra on a experimental phase of super focused strength sessions to see how supplementing their training with specific running focused strength training can benefit their racing. We had just about 12 weeks with the main aim being Otter 2014 for Landie and Christiaan.

We worked really hard in the gym these past 3 months to get them race ready and results they got has been amazing to say the least.

Christiaan’s podium streak started with a win at the Trail du Mont Rochelle 21km. He then went on to win the Table Mountain Challenge 40km, 3rd at the Cape Town marathon Peace trail 11km, and then surprising everyone with a 4th at Otter African trail run and ending it off with a 5th place at the Joburg leg of the Impi challenge.

Landie did a couple of smaller races leading up to Otter and won them all, as she always does, but mainly had her sighs set on Otter and, up till this year, elusive top spot on the podium. Not only did she get that but she broke the RETTO record with 13 minutes. All that after a hectic racing season overseas.

Landie and Christiaan had this to say about what benefit they experienced from the strength training.

In these days, runners need to do more than just run. They need to be strong and athletic. If not, the likelihood of injuries are much higher. This is particularly true for the sport of trail running. The benefits of strength training for runners, in both injury prevention and performance, are real.

I started my bi-weekly gym sessions (#hurtbox) with Ronel about 6 weeks ago. Since then, I have noted a significant improvement in particularly my climbing skills and overall fatigue levels during training runs and races. The sport of trail running requires considerable strength as well as a strong core due to the great variety of terrain and mountains we cross.

The type of gym workouts that we do at Runstrong is specifically aimed at improving these areas. I believe these gym sessions increase the ability of your bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles to withstand the impact of running. This will lead to an increase in overall performance and the heavy weight exercises that we do, in particular, can make you faster during the final stages of the race.

Whether your aim is purely to run easier with less pain or to get faster in your next race, I would definitely recommend joining Ronel for one or two hurtbox sessions a week!”

                         Landie Greyling

Research happens in labs and reading in books, but the proof is in the pudding! I have been a trail athlete since 2012, and have since then tried the conventional way of training, a balance of speed work, long runs and cross training. I got good results from this, but recently I did something else and I got great results! Ronel Nattrass approached me with this new gym research program and I was willing to be the lab rat, the research has already proved itself.

With a juggle between working 8-5, business school and family very little time is left for exercise and thus I have to be make the hours count! In a mere 10 weeks of training with Ronel, I could see a significant improvement in my running. From a pack runner who was normally in the top 5 in local races suddenly had 2 confident wins. It is not only the winning that matters, but the enjoyment to feel great on a run, climb strong and be able to carry your own body weight (which I thought is not streamline) across mountains. I can really recommend Ronel Nattrass Runstrong recipe to any runner who wants to improve and enjoy the sport of running!”

                     Christiaan Greyling


So, if you want to take your running to the next level, try some strength training and I can promise you will feel the difference.

Our strength training sessions are on Mondays at 16:00, Tuesdays at 14:00 and 17:30, Wednesdays at 17:00 and 18:00, Thursdays at 14:00 and Fridays at 06:30.

Contact me for more info on pricing and venue.

Other services that Runstrong offer is:

  1. Massage therapy – Sports massage and deep tissue massage

  2. Lynotherapy

  3. Personal training

  4. Online running coaching

Contact me on or 082 569 9791

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