Strengthening Workouts for Runners

Woman doing push-ups on a bench
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Whether you're training for a 5k, a marathon, or an obstacle course race, you can benefit from strength-training. You don't have to lift heavy weights at the gym to make a difference in your performance and injury resistance. Here's a series of exercises (no equipment required!) that you can do 2-3 times a week at home. You can do them after a short run or other cardio exercise, or after warming up with some dynamic exercises.

BEGINNER:

Lower body focus:

  • 15 Squats
  • 15 Lunges (on each side)
  • Wall sit (hold 30 seconds, repeat 3 times)
  • 3 x 10 Heel raises (10 in each position – feet parallel, toes pointing out, toes pointing in)​​
  • 10 Toe raises

Core work:

  • Front plank (hold 30 seconds)
  • Side plank (both sides, hold 30 seconds)
  • Bicycle Crunch (one minute)
  • 12 Bird dogs (on all fours and then lift opposite arm/leg and hold for 5 seconds)
  • Reverse crunch  (30 seconds)
  • 20 Push-ups
     

Once the above routine becomes too easy, you can progress to the intermediate and then advanced routines:

INTERMEDIATE: 

The first number stands for the set.  So 2 x 15 squats means two sets of 15 squats. Take a 30-second break between sets to shake out your muscles and/or get a drink of water.

Lower body focus:

  • 2 x 15 Squats​
  • 2 x 15 Lunges (on each side)
  • Wall sit (hold 40 seconds, repeat 3 times)
  • 3 x 10 Heel raises (10 in each position – feet parallel, toes pointing out, toes pointing in)
  • 15 Toe raises

Core work:

  • Front plank (hold 45 seconds)
  • Side plank (both sides, hold 45 seconds)
  • Bicycle Crunch (90 seconds)
  • 12 Bird dogs (on all fours and then lift opposite arm/leg and hold for 10 seconds)
  • Reverse crunch  (one minute)
  • 40 Push-ups
  • Superman (hold 3 seconds x 5)

ADVANCED:  

The first number stands for the set.

  So 3 x 15 squats means three sets of 15 squats. Take a 30-second break between sets to shake out your muscles and/or get a drink of water.

Lower body focus:

  • 3 x 15 Squats
  • 3 x 10 Lunges (on each side)
  • Wall sit (hold 45 seconds, repeat 3 times)
  • 3 x 10 Heel raises (10 in each position – feet parallel, toes pointing out, toes pointing in)
  • 2 x 10 Toe raises

Core work:

  • Front planks (hold 60-90 seconds)
  • Side plank (both sides, hold 60-90 seconds)
  • Bicycle Crunch (2 minutes)
  • 12 Bird dog (on all fours and then lift opposite arm/leg and hold for 15 seconds)
  • Reverse crunch (90 seconds)
  • 50 Push-ups
  • Superman (hold 5 seconds x 10)

Looking for more exercises? Try some of these:  

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