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Strength Training for Runners | 30-Minute Workout

I have a secret for runners everywhere.

There is something out there that will not only improve your running (speed, distance, efficiency) but also aid in keeping you strong and injury free.

No, it’s not a gimmick.

It’s not another shoe or running program.

The secret is strength training.

Running is great for your health, both physically and mentally.

The problem is that running is repetitive stress and that stress increases as the number of foot contacts, miles, races and pace increase.

This increase in our running is correlated in an increase in injury. In fact, studies show more than half of runners will be injured and many will be sidelined more than once per year.

The good news is, there are strategies like strength training with the right exercises, that aid to combat these injuries and keep your running improving.

Strength training is a must for runners.

Here’s why:

  • Decrease your risk of injury, aches and pains
  • Improve bone, tendon, ligament and muscle strength
  • Improve running posture
  • Improve core and hip strength
  • Improve running gait and efficiency
  • Increase running speed
  • Improve aerobic function and gas exchange

The Program (1-2x/week)

1) Warm-Up 
     A) Foam Roll Series
     B) Dynamic Warm-Up

2) Total-Body Strength and Core Circuit (2-3 rounds)

A1) x10 KB Goblet Squat
A2) x10 2x2 Push-Up
A3) x8/side 1-Arm Cable SLDL
A4) x10 Inverted Row
A5) x5/side Wall Dead-Bug

B1) 4x20-25yd Sled March ** Bonus Exercise

1) Warm-Up

Be sure to start each run and strength training session with our foam rolling series to loosen overworked and stiff muscles and joints. Follow this up with our dynamic warm-up to improve posture and mobility, get loose and get your body ready to train. This will not only decrease your risk of injury but aid in boosting your performance.

2) Strength and Core Circuit

The program follows a circuit format. You will complete each exercise in order, resting :30 between each exercise and 2-3 minutes between each round. You will complete 2-3 total rounds of the circuit.  If you are new to the exercises, keep the weights light and master the positions and technique. 

A1) KB Goblet Squat

The goblet squat is a fantastic exercise to build lower-body strength and mobility as well as master your squat technique. This is a great way to improve the strength of your quads, glutes and abs -- important for improving your running efficiency and speed.

Key Points 

  • Start feet shoulder width with toes slightly pointed out
  • Stay tall with stomach braced throughout
  • Initiate movement by breaking at the knees, sitting back and pushing knees out
  • Go as low as you can with no pain and good neutral spine position
  • Finish tall with glutes squeezed

A2) 2x2 Push-Up

The push-up is one of our favorite upper body exercises. It not only incorporates your arms and shoulders but challenges the stability of your core and hips to hold good position. This is crucial for running strength and posture. 

Key Points

  • Start hands directly under shoulders
  • Keep straight line from head to heels
  • Keep glutes squeezed and hips tucked
  • Lower entire body until arms are parallel with body, pause for 2 seconds
  • Keep arms back at 45 degree angle
  • Pause in top position for 2 seconds

A3) 1-Arm Cable SLDL 

The cable SLDL (stiff-legged deadlift) may be the best lower-body exercise for runners. The movement challenges balance, single leg strength and targets the glutes and hamstrings which are crucial for boosting performance and keeping your low back and knees healthy.

Key Points

  • Start tall with cable in one hand
  • Start by softening knee of down leg
  • Slowly reach back leg long and allow chest to fall forward (same arm forward, same leg back)
  • Keep chest tall and stomach braced
  • In bottom position, there should be straight line from head to back heel
  • Quickly return to starting position and squeeze glutes

A4) Inverted Row

The inverted row is a great way to strengthen your upper back and improve your running posture by keeping you tall. This exercise is a great way to also improve core strength. 

Key Points

  • Start with straight line from head to heals, arms straight
  • Initiate movement by pulling shoulder blades towards each other
  • Pull yourself up, finishing arms in line with body
  • Finish by lowering yourself to starting position

A5) Wall Dead-Bug

The wall dead-bug is the single best ab exercise for runners. A strong core, especially abs,  is vital to the health and performance of runners. Having strong abs is a great way to hold better posture throughout your run. This keeps your pelvis and rib cage in an optimal position to aid in stability and diaphragm function, improving energy production and aerobic metabolism. This keeping you running strong and less quickly to fatigue. 

Key Points: 

  • Start on back with hands on wall
  • Press and keep low back into floor
  • Keeping back flat, reach one leg out front
  • Hold this position as you exhale long and slow
  • Return to starting position and switch side

B1) Sled March ** BONUS EXERCISE

If we had to choose one exercise for athletes, especially runners it would be the sled march. It challenges every aspect of running -- single leg strength, coordination, core strength and endurance. You will love these!

Key Points

  • Keep body at 45 degree angle
  • Keep arms straight
  • Leading with knee, one foot at a time to move forward
  • Keep upper-body still throughout
  • Start with 4 rounds of 15-20yds followed by 1:00 rest

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