If you’re a beginner runner or have been contemplating picking it up then it’s likely you’ve heard someone say, “You’ll need a runner’s strength workout too.” And they were right. Strength training is essential for runners whether they enjoy a casual jog around the park or are chasing down PBs, whether they want to tackle a half marathon or a 10K.
Strength training (which is using the resistance of your own body or a tool to build muscle, strength and endurance) will reduce the chance of injury, help you to run faster and improve your running economy allowing you to run further. Put simply, the stronger you are the easier it is to carry your bodyweight over a distance.
The great thing about this runner’s strength workout? It doesn’t need to be super time-consuming but as with most things, consistency is key. You only need to roll out the five moves below two or three times a week and complete two or three sets. Just make sure to rest in between and stop when you feel your form going.
5 Moves to Help Runners Get Stronger
We know what you’re thinking. You just wanted to start running and maybe that was intimidating enough and now we’re telling you to try a runner’s strength workout as well. Bear with us. Strength training doesn’t have to be scary and it doesn’t have to look like lifting huge weights in the gym (unless you want it to). Check out these five simple strength moves every runner should have in their arsenal, you can do them at home and without any equipment, you’ll just need a little space.
Let the groans commence. We know they hurt and that you don’t like them but squats are going to help you strengthen your quads, calves and hamstrings which are all key for running. They’re also going to strengthen the tendons around your knees and ankles, as well as your lower back, all areas that are often associated with injury in runners.
Most people know how to complete a squat but it’s often form that means they’re not getting the most from the move. Remember to keep your feet and knees in line, ensure your heels are planted throughout and keep your back straight and core engaged.
Another lower body move. Lunges are great for targeting the leg muscles and glutes, but they’re also going to improve your balance and coordination and help strengthen your hip flexors. Your hips are often ignored in workouts and if you sit a lot for work then they’re going to get tight, lunges are a great way to boost flexibility in this part of the body.
Our tip tip for lunges? Imagine your feet are on train tracks, not in a straight line. It will help keep you balanced especially if you move to jump lunges.
Glute Bridge Hold
It’s time to wake up your glutes (that’s your bum by the way). If you’ve been working from home then you may have found that sitting for long periods of time in unsuitable chairs has made your hip flexors tight and your glutes weak. The glute bridge hold is going to engage all of these sleepy muscles which is great for your running technique and also for how good you look in jeans.
Lie face up on the floor, with knees bent and feet flat. Lift your hips up off the ground until your body is in a diagonal line – remember to squeeze your glutes to make sure they’re doing the hard work. Hold for a few seconds and release gently.
The plank is a great full body move but we’re particularly love it because of how it strengthens the core muscles. If you’re holding the correct position it’s also good for stretching out the muscles of the lower body.
Ready to complete the perfect plank? Place your hands directly beneath your shoulders, keep your feet hip-distance apart, keep your back straight and engage your core and glutes.
Another exercise to target coordination and stability, which are often forgotten when people are training for a race. The bicycle crunch is going to activate both deep and superficial abdominal muscles and your obliques, which you’ll find will boost your core strength and improve your posture.
Lie on the ground and make sure your lower back is flat. Start with your feet planted and hands behind your head. Then, contracting your abdominal muscles raise your knees and move through a pedaling motion, bringing one knee up while the other goes straight. Rotate your upper body at the same time so that you bring the opposite elbow to touch the opposite knee. Remember to breathe.
Ready to Race
Now that you’re running and strength training you’ll be ready to race in no time and earning sweet PBs. Haven’t got an event booked? There’s a LimeLight Sports Club event to take your fancy, whether it’s a fast, flat 10K or a boundary-pushing duathlon.