Best Strength Exercises for Runners
All you have to do to run better is run more, right? Not quite. Strength training is an integral part of any good runner’s workout routine. To run like the wind must be strong than air
A strength workout for runners can not only help you run faster, but it can also help prevent future running injuries. Yet when running is the main focus of your workout plan, you can forget about strength training. Taking a few days off the track and spending time in your gym can pay dividends for your running ability and improve your overall health.
If you want to improve your running or get a leg up on your total-body fitness, we cover everything you need to know about running, strength training and combining the two below.
What are the benefits of strength training for runners?
As rewarding as it sounds, running can be a uniquely taxing workout for your body. Many runners suffer from chronic problems such as knee pain, shin splints and Achilles tendinitis. But strength training — when integrated into your running routine — can both help reduce tell-tale runner complaints:
- Preventing injury from overuse or strain
- Creating better running economy (so you can run faster)
- Increased stability
- Improve your form
- Increase aerobic capacity
- Driving up the metabolic rate
- Correct muscle imbalances
- Supports mental abilities (eg focus and self confidence)
Adding a strength training workout to your routine, even if it’s just one day, can have a significant impact on your body.
The best core workout for runners
Looking to improve your core strength? A good core workout does more than just give you a luscious six-pack. Improving your core strength will help stabilize your spine, which will support your overall balance and stability. This translates into better form when you run – and it can also improve the quality of your breathing.
Fortunately, you can do core work in your routine at the gym, at the park, or in your downtime at home. Start by focusing on:
- plank – This exercise is great for strengthening the upper body muscles, including the core and arms. Start by holding for 30 seconds. If you feel it, try to hold for 60 to 90 seconds. We recommend both front and side planks to tune up your obliques.
- Bicycle crunches – Focus on keeping your back plugged into the mat to fully engage your core muscles. Start with a 60-second set; After a while, try going up to 90 seconds.
- Highlighted above – Classic push-ups give you an extra arm workout. Start with a series of 20 push-ups. Increase to 40 as you build more strength.
Best Leg Workout for Runners
Obviously, feet are one of the most important parts of a runner’s body. The good news is that there are many strength exercises to add to your lower body workout plan. To get you started, these five go-tos can help build strong leg muscles and lower-body awareness:
- Squats – Squats target all the muscles in your legs. This move will focus on your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Start with one set of 15 and bump up to three sets of 15 if you want.
- the lungs – Although you’ll really feel the benefit in your legs, lunges are a full-body move that activates the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders and core muscles. This move also increases the mobility of your hips. Start with 15 lunges on each side, then work your way up to three sets of 10.
- Burpees – This full-body exercise gets your heart rate up while building strength in both your lower and upper body. For runners, a single set of 20 is a great starting point.
- heel raise – Activate the muscles that run along the back of your foot and work on your balance by raising the heel. To start, try three sets of 10.
- Raise your toes – You only need to do 15 to 20 toe raises to see the effect on your shin strength, which can be a lifesaver when wondering how to prevent shin splints. (Translation? No more shin splints.)
These strength exercises also do not require heavy weight lifting. Some of these can be done with your body weight or light weights. A squat, for example, can be done as a bodyweight exercise. The importance here is that you are strengthening each muscle group.
How many times a week should runners do strength training?
Runners should hit the gym twice a week for strength training in addition to the standard schedule of running and recovery days.
Ideally, you’ll space the strength training sessions so that they don’t fall off immediately before doing quick work. Pushing them too close together can cause fatigue, compromising your ability to perform at speed. Setting up your running and training plan efficiently is important to knowing you’re getting the energy work you need without stressing your body.
How long should strength training last?
Depending on your goals, a strength training session should last from 30 to 60 minutes.
Of course, if you’re training for an upcoming marathon, you might want to hit the gym longer. That said, if life gets messy and you can only spend 15 minutes on strength training, make them count! Where this type of workout is concerned, duration or number of reps are not as important as the quality of your form.
Build energy for your run at Choose Fitness
Even if you run alone, it helps to train in a community. Stop into one nearby Choose Fitness location and our friendly and knowledgeable team will guide you and help you develop your fitness goals Fitness class Enjoy one before relaxing your sore muscles Hydromassage.
Whether you’re looking for a pep talk on the treadmill or someone to cheer you on during your vigorous workout, our fitness experts en-choose– iastic about helping you achieve your goals.
Whatever you choose, find a choice Gyms near you Jump-start your strength training and burn seconds off your mile times before you know it.
Ani is Vice President of Fitness at Chuz Fitness and oversees the Group Fitness and Team Training departments. He had a 25+ year career in club management, personal training, group exercise and instructor training. Annie lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and son and loves hot yoga, snowboarding and all things wellness.
- Fits very well. Strength training workouts for runners. https://www.verywellfit.com/strengthening-workouts-for-runners-2911909
- The runner’s blueprint. Top 7 Strength Training Exercises for Runners (2020 Update). https://www.runnersblueprint.com/strength-training-for-runners/