Featured image of post Why Every Runner Should Incorporate Strength Training

Why Every Runner Should Incorporate Strength Training

Unlock your running potential with strength training! Discover how it improves running economy, reduces injuries, enhances core stability, corrects muscle imbalances, and boosts functional strength. Get tailored strength exercises and tips to incorporate into your training plan.

Sign up for personalized coaching to prepare for your next race

Why Every Runner Should Embrace Strength Training

Running is an exceptional cardiovascular exercise, but it’s incomplete without strength training. Strength training, also known as resistance training, is the key to unlocking a runner’s full potential and enhancing their running experience. By incorporating strength training exercises into your running routine, you’ll experience improved running economy, reduced risk of injuries, enhanced core stability, improved muscle imbalances, increased functional strength, and improved body composition.

Benefits of Strength Training for Runners

Improved Running Economy: Strength training helps runners utilize oxygen more efficiently, reducing the energy required to run at a given pace. This improved running economy translates into faster times and increased endurance.

Reduced Risk of Injuries: Strong muscles and connective tissues provide better support to joints and reduce the risk of common running injuries, such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and knee pain.

Enhanced Core Stability: A strong core is crucial for maintaining proper running form, reducing the strain on the lower back and improving overall stability.

Improved Muscle Imbalances: Running can lead to muscle imbalances, where certain muscles become overdeveloped while others weaken. Strength training helps correct these imbalances, ensuring a balanced and efficient running stride.

Increased Functional Strength: Strength training improves your ability to perform everyday tasks and activities, making you a more capable and well-rounded individual.

Improved Body Composition: Strength training helps build lean muscle mass, which increases metabolism and improves body composition. This can lead to weight loss, reduced body fat percentage, and a more toned physique.

Types of Strength Training for Runners

Weight Training: Using weights or machines to add resistance to exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, and bench press.

Bodyweight Exercises: Utilizing your own body weight as resistance, such as push-ups, pull-ups, and lunges.

Resistance Training: Using resistance bands or other tools to provide resistance, such as band squats, band rows, and resistance band push-ups.

Functional Strength Training: Exercises that mimic real-life movements and improve strength in specific movement patterns, such as plyometrics, core work, and balance exercises.

Specific Strength Exercises for Runners

Core Exercises:

  • Planks: Hold a push-up position with your forearms on the ground, engaging your core to keep your body in a straight line.
  • Side Planks: Lie on your side with your elbow under your shoulder, lift your hips off the ground, and hold your body in a straight line.
  • Russian Twists: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet off the ground, hold a weight or medicine ball in front of your chest, and twist your torso from side to side.

Upper Body Workout:

  • Push-Ups: Lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows, then push back up to the starting position.
  • Pull-Ups: Hang from a bar with your palms facing you, pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar, then slowly lower back down.
  • Rows: Bend over at the waist with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold weights or dumbbells in each hand, and pull your elbows up towards your body.

Ab Exercises for Men:

  • Crunches: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground, lift your head and shoulders off the ground while engaging your abs.
  • Sit-Ups: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground, lift your torso up to a sitting position while engaging your abs.
  • Leg Raises: Lie on your back with your hands under your hips, lift your legs off the ground while keeping your knees straight and engaging your abs.

Best Ab Exercises:

  • Planks: As described earlier, planks are an excellent core exercise that engages multiple muscle groups.
  • Russian Twists: Russian twists target the obliques and help improve core stability.
  • Bicycle Crunches: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, lift your legs off the ground, and bring your right elbow to your left knee while simultaneously extending your right leg. Repeat on the other side.

How to Incorporate Strength Training into Your Running Plan

Frequency and Duration: Aim for 2-3 strength training sessions per week, each lasting 20-30 minutes.

Exercise Selection: Choose exercises that target the major muscle groups used in running, such as the legs, core, back, and shoulders.

Progression: Gradually increase the weight, resistance, or number of repetitions as you get stronger.

Tips for Runners Starting Strength Training

Start Gradually: Begin with a light weight or resistance and gradually increase the intensity over time.

Use Proper Form: Focus on maintaining proper form to avoid injuries. If necessary, consult with a qualified personal trainer.

Listen to Your Body: Rest when you need to and don’t push yourself too hard.

Rest and Recovery: Allow for adequate rest and recovery between strength training sessions to promote muscle growth and repair.


Strength training is an indispensable component of a runner’s training regimen. By incorporating strength training exercises into your routine, you’ll reap numerous benefits that will enhance your running performance, reduce your risk of injuries, and improve your overall health and well-being. Embrace strength training today and unlock your full potential as a runner!

Sign up for personalized coaching to prepare for your next race