No matter how many years you’ve been running, how fast or slow you run, strength training should be a regular part of any runner’s training. Even if you don’t care about quicker times, strength training for runners can keep you doing what you love—running.
“Injury prevention is a key benefit of incorporating strength training into your running routine,” says Jake Dearden, athlete and head coach at Represent 247, the run club of Represent Clothing. “It addresses muscle imbalances and weaknesses, effectively lowering the risk of common running injuries like shin splints, IT band syndrome and stress fractures.
“This enhanced strength also translates to increased power and speed, particularly advantageous during faster-paced runs and uphill challenges. Moreover, strong muscles delay the onset of fatigue, enabling you to cover longer distances with reduced effort.
“In addition, strength training enhances balance and stability, reducing the chances of tripping or falling while running.
“By integrating strength training into your running program, you can achieve enhanced performance, fewer injuries, and a more enjoyable overall running experience.”
Pretty convincing, we’re sure you’ll agree, and adding supportive strength work doesn’t have to take ages, either. Dearden has shared five straightforward moves to get started with.
Leg Workout For Runners
1 Sprinter step-up
Sets 3-4 Reps 8-10 each side
Why This movement will help with power, balance and leg strength, and targets the glutes, in particular.
How Place your right foot on a plyo box or other sturdy platform. Push through your right foot and extend your right leg to rise. At the same time raise your left knee until it’s level with your hips, bringing your right arm up to help you balance. Pause, then return your left foot to the floor under control. Do all of your reps on one side then swap sides.
Sets 3-4 Reps 10 each side
Why This movement will help with balance and overall leg strength.
How Sit on the edge of a plyo box or other stable platform with your right leg extended and right heel on the floor. Place your right foot flat on the floor and stand up on your right leg, placing the top of your left foot on the box behind you. Keep your weight over your right leg. Engage your core and, keeping your chest up throughout, bend your right knee to lower until your rear knee is just above the floor. Push through your front heel to return to the start. Do all of your reps on one side then swap sides.
Sets 3-4 Reps 8-12 each side
Why This movement will help with power, balance and leg strength, especially in your glutes and hamstrings.
How Stand on your right leg with a slight bend in your knee. Keeping your hips square throughout, hinge forward and push your hips back, letting your left leg lift behind you. Your back and left leg should form a straight line throughout. Use your glute and hamstring to drive back up to a standing position by pushing your foot into the floor and bringing your hips forward. Do all of your reps on one side then swap sides.
4 Split stance calf raise
Sets 2-3 Reps 8-10 each side
Why This movement will help with balance, mobility and overall leg strength, especially improving strength in your calves.
How Adopt a split stance with the toes of your front foot slightly elevated on a weight plate or small step. Contract the calf of your front leg and push through the ball of your front foot to drive up onto the toes of both feet. Lower under control. Do all of your reps on one side then swap sides.
5 Standing calf raise
Sets 2-3 Reps 10-20 each side.
Why This movement will help with calf and foot strength.
How Stand with the toes of one foot on a step or weight plate with your hips and knees extended and your heel hanging off the edge. Push through the balls of your foot and contract your calf to push yourself up onto your toes. Pause then lower under control. Do all of your reps on one side then swap sides.
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Lois Mackenzie is a fitness writer working on news, features, reviews and buying guides for Coach and sister site Fit&Well. Lois is a hill walker and avid runner who has just completed her first marathon. Before joining Coach, Lois worked as a senior SEO reporter at Newsquest Media Group.