Behind running, strength training is the next best way to get faster as a runner.
So you’re a runner and you want to get faster and fitter, but not sure how? If you don’t make time for strength training you are absolutely missing out on a lot of potential gains you could be making.
Strength training helps build muscle (obviously) which in turn gives you more strength for that kick at the end of the race, or for powering up that big hill. You may think running is enough to work your lower body, but you’d be surprised at some runners’ strength when they go to perform a squat or deadlift.
Furthermore, upper body lifting is just as important. Your arms drive you forward during a race. Your core keeps you upright. Wouldn’t you want these muscle groups to be strong as well?
For runners, an overall, whole-body workout routine is perfect. Performed 2-3x a week, it is a great addition to your running, and you will definitely notice improvements. When I started really lifting and adding in squats, deadlifts, lunges of all varieties, core work, and more, I noticed an improvement in how I felt on my runs, and in my times.
I made a beginner’s workout routine that should take about 45 minutes. I recommend shooting for 3 times a week, but if you can only do it 2 times, that is ok too. I have included modifications if you don’t have access to a gym, as well as YouTube links to show you proper form. A1 followed by A2 means you perform those exercises back to back, then rest for about 30-45 seconds. Repeat those 2 exercises for a total of 3 times before moving on to the “B” exercises. Everything is done in 3 sets (so repeat 3 times). Next to each exercise, I have written the reps you should do.
*A1 followed by A2 means you perform those exercises back to back, then rest for about 30-45 seconds. Repeat those 2 exercises for a total of 3 times before moving onto the “B” exercises. Everything is done in 3 sets (so repeat 3 times). Next to each exercise, I have written the reps you should do.
A1- Goblet Split Squat (12 reps) – Holding a dumbbell or kettlebell up to your chest works your core while working your legs simultaneously because you are working to stay upright.
A2- Assisted Pull ups (10-12 reps) – AMAZING upper body exercise that works your biceps and back. If you don’t have access to an assisted pull up machine, do a Dumbbell Row (10-12 reps)
B1 – Dumbbell Step Up (10 reps each leg) – Do 10 on one leg first, then switch. You can use a box or bench at a gym, or your staircase at home. This is a great move because it works quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
B2- Pushup (10 reps) – If you can’t do a full pushup do it on your knees. This works your upper body but also your core and lower back.
C1- Hamstring Curl on Swiss Ball (15 reps) – If you don’t have a swiss ball, you can do hip raises instead.
C2- Plank (30-45 seconds depending on your ability).
C3- Reverse Crunch 15 reps
If you plan on doing this workout on the same day as a run, I recommend run first and then lift. If possible, I would try to do strength workouts on off days from running.
Patty Rivas is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, avid runner and fitness junkie. She is a current graduate student, but still finds time to run, exercise, and personal train/motivate others to reach their goals.