Plyometrics Routine for Distance Runners

Plyometrics Routine for Distance Runners

Are you looking for a really quick, high cardio workout that gets your lungs and legs moving and burning? If so, you’ll want to read to the end of this post for the Plyometric Routine for Runners.

Plyometric Exercises for Distance Runners
Plyometric Exercises for Distance Runners

Plyos are exercises – like bounding and leaping – that not only help improve strength, but also increase your stamina and your endurance. According to Dr. Jason Karp, “Plyometrics will improve muscle power, which will mean faster race times”.  Do this workout when you have a scheduled easy day or day off following.

I’ve created a plyometric routine that you can follow that requires only minimal equipment. This can be done at a gym or at home and takes no more than 25 minutes to complete.

It’s been set up so that you’ll do 2-3 rounds of each exercise. Each “station” will be 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of recovery/time to get to the next exercise.

Box Jumps

From the ground, jump with two feet onto a 1-foot tall box, and then immediately jump into the air and back down to the ground. As you get experienced with the exercise, try jumping with one foot at a time.

Jump for Distance

From a squat position with both legs, jump forward as far as you can. Plyometric Exercises for Distance Runners

Jump Squats

With hands on hips in a squat position, jump straight up as high as you can. Upon landing, lower back into a squat position in one smooth motion and immediately jump up again.

Double Leg Hops

1) On both legs, hop up and down; 2) hop forward and back; 3) hop side to side

Plyometric Routine for Runners
Plyometric Routine for Runners

Single Leg Hops

1) On one leg, hop up and down; 2) hop forward and back; 3) hop side to side.


From standing, go into a squat. From squat, hands come to the ground and go into a plank position. Do a pushup. Feet come to hands as hands come off the ground. Perform a squat jump and clap at the top. Repeat.

Toe Taps

Also known as fast feet. Put one foot on ball/step/object. Begin to quickly tap your toes, one at a time in a running-like manner on the step acting as if the step were hot.

Plyometric Exercises for Distance Runners
9 Plyometric Exercises for Distance Runners

Depth Jumps

From a standing position on a 1-foot tall box, jump onto the ground and land in a squat position. From this squat position, jump straight up as high as you can.

Box Step Ups

Start by placing one foot on top of the box making sure the entire foot is making contact with the surface. Pull your body up through the heel of the foot that is up on the box. Lower your yourself back down to the floor with full control.


The exercises you’ve just seen are intended to be done after a warm-up, so make sure you do at least 10 minutes of active drills, jogging, and some dynamic stretching.

Plyo Routine for Distance Runners
Plyo Routine for Distance Runners

This workout should be repeated (each time doing more reps) every 3rd week. Because of the nature of the workout, I think any more often and you’ll find very heavy and tired legs. Because this is such an explosive workout, you’ll want to have a day of rest/recovery before you try another hard workout or long run.

Here are some other great strength routines I’ve posted on my blog:

High-Intensity Partner Workout

Strength Training & Base Miles

Adding Strength Training to your Base Miles


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Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach
Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach

I am a USATF Track and Field & Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 certified running coach. I have more than 19 years of experience running and more than 10 years of experience coaching runners. Click for more information!

8 thoughts on “Plyometrics Routine for Distance Runners

  1. This is a great routine and includes a lot of my favorite moves. Thanks for posting!


  2. Debbie Woodruff August 22, 2018 — 5:33 PM

    I actually went to a plyometrics session/workshop that Jason taught at IDEA World a few years ago. It was fun and challenging. Plyometrics are great for runners!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. deborahbrooks14 August 22, 2018 — 6:25 PM

    I have not done most of these in a long long time! Thanks for the reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great workout. But can I freely admit that I’m terrified of box jumps? Ha! I’ve done them before but I’m so darn scared of catching my toes on the box and landing on it with my shins.


  5. I hear you. At the gym, they have a “safer” one. At home though, we built our own and it’s got jagged edges – basically a shin-splinter recipe for disaster. Definitely a little more cautious at home than at the gym 🙂


  6. Haha! Be careful…


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