6 exercises to be a better runner

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Robbie Britton is a team GB ultrarunner and coach, and is currently ranked number 17 in the world for ultras. He went from running his first marathon to competing for Great Britain in the World Ultra Marathon Championships in just four years. 

The goal

‘Becoming faster and more resilient on the trails is your aim, but this workout can support and improve your performance,’ says Britton. ‘Running on trails and hills already gives your body a more varied workout than a flat road can – mixing up the terrain and routes will keep your body guessing and work your whole body, not just your legs. But supplementing your runs with these core, mobility and strengthening exercises will help you hold your form in the latter stages of a race. They’ll keep you moving quickly and efficiently.’

Use the best core stability exercises for running

The workout

‘Perform the exercises in this six-move circuit back to back three times, resting for two minutes between each circuit,’ says Britton. ‘Do it once a week at first, building to twice a week to supplement the work you do on the trails. For any moves involving weights, avoid going too heavy. Explosive box jumps are the long-distance runner’s equivalent of lifting big weights.

You’ll earn all the power you need for the trails without having to go too heavy in the weights room.’ Robbie Britton wore Inov-8 running shoes to compete in the ultra races over all the terrains in 2015. Read blogs from him and other Inov-8 athletes here.

Squat to the world

Hold a medicine ball in both hands and lower into a squat. Drive back up, then slowly circle the ball around your head in one direction, then the other, keeping your core tight.

Beginner 8 reps each side

Intermediate 10 reps each side

Advanced 12 reps each side


Get into a plank position with your weight supported by your feet and forearms. Keep your body in line, feet together and elbows directly under your shoulders. Squeeze your abs and core to help you keep your hips up.

Beginner 30sec

Intermediate 60sec

Advanced 90sec

Single-leg squat

Stand on one leg, with the other raised behind you and your arms in front for balance. Keeping your chest up, lower into a squat. Keep your knee in line with your toes, and go as low as you can without losing your balance.

Beginner 6 reps each side

Intermediate 8 reps each side

Advanced 10 reps each side


Lie on your back with your arms and legs outstretched. Contract your core and bring your legs and arms together, keeping them straight, then lower to the start under control.

Beginner 8 reps

Intermediate 10 reps

Advanced 12 reps

Kettlebell step-up

Holding kettlebells, brace your core and place one foot on a bench. Drive through the heel to step up on the bench. Carefully step back down, lead leg first. Alternate sides.

Beginner 8 reps each side

Intermediate 10 reps each side

Advanced 12 reps each side

Box jump

Stand facing a knee-high box or bench. Jump powerfully onto it, using your arms to generate momentum if you need to and bending your knees to soften your landing. Step rather than jump down, then repeat.

Beginner 3 reps

Intermediate 4 reps

Advanced 5 reps

For more marathon training tips use this full guide

Sam Rider

Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix. Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.