Run Strong : Strength Training For Runners

I was just finishing up my jog one late afternoon and checked my timer and realised I have not gotten any faster, so I did a little bit of digging to find out why?

I like hitting the weights, my priority has been training like and bodybuilder and not like a runner looking to improve their speed. So I did a little bit of research about strength training for runners, and what I found was that I was training within a too high of a rep range (10 +), when I should be focused strength, more specifically explosive strength with a rep range between (2 – 6).

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What does running strength training involve?

Have you ever wondered what running strength training involves? Well, it’s your lucky day! I’m here to enlighten you with the basics of it. 

The Basics of Running Strength Training 

Running strength training is not just about sprinting as fast as you can. Think of it as the foundation of a house. Without it, your athletic prowess in running wouldn’t have something sturdy to stand on. It’s all about building a solid base that improves your performance and prevents injuries. So, what does it involve? 

  1. Build-up Phase: This is the initial stage where you focus more on lighter weights and more repetitions. Imagine this phase as gathering the materials needed to build your house.
  2. Strength Phase: This is where you gradually increase the weight and reduce the repetitions. It’s like laying down the bricks of your house.
  3. Power Phase: This phase involves lifting heavy weights with lesser repetitions. It’s the equivalent of adding the final touches to your house, making it strong and sturdy.

Let’s dive deeper into these phases: 

PhaseFocusExercise Examples
Build-upEndurance and muscle conditioningSquats, lunges, push-ups
StrengthIncreasing overall strengthWeight lifting, resistance bands
PowerDeveloping explosive strengthPlyometrics, power cleans

Now, you may be wondering, “why all this talk about phases? Why not just start with heavy weights?” 

Well, it’s simple. Jumping straight into heavy weights without proper conditioning is like trying to build a house without a blueprint. It’s a recipe for disaster. Not only will you struggle with the weights, but it could also lead to serious injuries. Patience and gradual progression are key in strength training.

Running strength training is a journey, not a destination. It’s about consistent growth and improvements. So, are you ready to start building your athletic house?

8 Benefits Of Strength Training For Runners


So, you’re enthusiastic about running, right? But have you ever stopped to consider the benefits of coupling your runs with strength training? I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t running enough on its own?” Well, my dear friend (and potential strength training convert), allow me to present you with eight sparkling benefits of strength training for runners. Let’s dive right in! 

The Benefits 

  1. Enhanced Running Efficiency: Imagine yourself as a fine-tuned machine. With strength training, that’s just what you’ll become! This form of exercise can help improve your running economy, meaning you’ll use less energy while covering those familiar distances.
  2. Reduced Risk of Injury: Who wants to spend time laid up with an injury? No one, that’s who! Strength training reinforces your muscles and connective tissues, making them more resistant to the strains and stresses of running.
  3. Improved Race Times: Ready to smash your personal best? Strength training can help! By boosting your overall power and speed, you’ll be crossing the finish line faster than ever before.
  4. Better Metabolic Efficiency: Want to get more bang for your buck in terms of calorie burn? Strength training can increase your resting metabolic rate, meaning you’ll burn more calories even when you’re not working out.
  5. Greater Muscular Power and Endurance: Ever feel like you hit a wall mid-run? With strength training, you can bust through that wall and keep going! It helps enhance your muscular power and endurance, so you can keep running for longer.
  6. Improved Body Composition: Strength training can help you build lean muscle and reduce body fat. So, not only will you become a better runner, you’ll also get in great shape!
  7. Increased Bone Density: Worried about your bone health? Strength training is the answer! It can increase your bone density, helping to reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
  8. Better Balance and Coordination: Ever tripped over your own feet during a run? Strength training can improve your balance and coordination, making those clumsy moments a thing of the past.

Remember, the key to reaping these benefits is consistency and balance. Always ensure your strength training regimen complements your running routine. Happy training!

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Don’t Train Like A Bodybuilder – Train for strength

Ever desired to train like a bodybuilder? It’s an interesting concept, isn’t it? There’s a certain allure to those perfectly sculpted muscles and the immense strength that bodybuilders possess. However, did you know that having a lot of muscle can actually slow down your running speed? It’s true! 

While bodybuilders are undoubtedly strong, their training is primarily geared towards muscle size and aesthetics, not necessarily speed or athletic functionality. In essence, the additional muscle mass can act like a bulky backpack that you’re forced to carry around during your runs. It can quite literally weigh you down!

But, don’t fret! 

Getting ‘too big’ is not something that happens overnight. It takes months, even years of dedicated, intense strength training and a very specific diet to achieve the kind of size you see on professional bodybuilders. And let’s not forget, their training regime is their full-time job! 

So, if you’re just starting out with your strength training journey, fear not! You’re far from waking up one day and finding yourself ‘too big’. Rest assured, there’s plenty of room to develop strength without becoming the next Mr. or Ms. Olympia!

How much strength training do runners need to do?

Discover the Power of Strength Training for Runners 

Have you ever wondered just how much strength training a dedicated runner like you should do? It’s a common question, and one that we’re thrilled to dive into. Unleash your potential by understanding the perfect balance of strength training that complements your running regimen. 

Getting the Balance Right 

Strength training, like adding a dash of spice to a delicious dish, needs to be measured carefully. Add too much, and it overwhelms; too little, and the dish lacks flavor. 

Remember, the goal of strength training for runners is to improve overall performance and reduce the risk of injury, not to become a heavyweight lifting champion.

An Ideal Weekly Strength Training Routine for Runners 

You might now be asking, “But how much is just right?” Let’s break it down, shall we? 

  • Beginners: If you’re a novice runner, start with just two days of strength training per week.
  • Intermediate: Once you’ve built a basic level of strength, three days per week is ideal.
  • Advanced: If you’re a seasoned runner, maintain a routine of two to three days per week, focusing more on maintaining strength rather than building it.

Remember, it’s not just about the number of days, but also the intensity of each session. Workouts should be challenging, yet achievable, leaving you feeling stronger and energized, not drained. 

Session Duration and Frequency 

LevelSession DurationFrequency
Beginner20-30 minutes2 days/week
Intermediate30-45 minutes3 days/week
Advanced30-45 minutes2 – 3 days/week

With a balanced routine that combines both running and strength training, you’ll be on your way to becoming a more robust, resilient, and efficient runner.

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How heavy is heavy enough?

It’s All Relative 

Ever heard the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Well, when it comes to strength training, one person’s heavy is another person’s light. So the question is not just how heavy is heavy enough?, but rather how heavy is heavy enough for you? 

Starting Point 

As a runner, you’re not aiming to become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. Your goal is to build strength that supports your running, not hinders it. So where do you start? 

  1. Pick a weight that you can lift for 10-12 reps with good form.
  2. The last 2-3 reps should be challenging, but not impossible.
  3. If you can’t reach 10 reps, the weight is too heavy.
  4. If you can easily do more than 12 reps, the weight is too light.


Now that you have a starting point, how do you progress? It’s simple – add more weight! 

  1. When the weight you’re lifting becomes too easy, increase it.
  2. Aim for an increase of 2.5-5% each week.
  3. Remember, the goal is to challenge yourself, not break yourself.

Why Does This Matter? 

“Strength training is about more than just lifting heavy weights. It’s about building a stronger, more resilient body that can withstand the demands of running.”

A Word of Caution 

While strength training is beneficial for all runners, it’s important to remember that more is not always better. Lifting too heavy can lead to injuries and hinder your running performance. So always listen to your body and remember to take it slow and steady. Remember, you’re in it for the long-run, not just a sprint!

Your Training Table 

110-12Starting Weight
210-12+ 2.5-5%
310-12+ 2.5-5%

Try this runners strength training program

Sure, here is an example strength training program specifically designed for runners: “`html

Example Runner’s Strength Training Program 

As a budding runner, you’re probably wondering, “What’s the perfect strength training program for me?” Well, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s get those leg muscles ready for the ride of their life! 

Lunges34 per leg
Planks230 seconds
Step-ups35 per leg

Remember, the goal here isn’t to turn you into a professional bodybuilder. It’s about strengthening your muscles to improve your running performance and, importantly, prevent injuries. Now, let’s go over these exercises in more detail: 

  1. Squats: A full-body exercise that primarily targets your thighs and glutes. Imagine you’re sitting back into an invisible chair – that’s the move!
  2. Lunges: These work your hamstrings, glutes, and quads all at once. It’s like taking a step, but with more power!
  3. Planks: A fantastic core exercise. Think of it as trying to keep a straight line from your head to your heels.
  4. Deadlifts: This is an excellent exercise for your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. It’s like picking up something heavy from the ground, but with proper form.
  5. Step-ups: This exercise targets your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. It’s like climbing stairs, but with more intensity.

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi

So there you have it – your beginner’s guide to a strength training program for runners. Remember, the path to improvement is a marathon, not a sprint.

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Best Strength Training Exercise For Runners

Have you ever dreamed of crafting your own strength training program? One that’s tailor-made to your needs as a runner? Well, dear reader, you’re in luck! This guide is here to provide you with the basic exercises you must include in your regimen to improve your strength and enhance your running performance. 

Remember, strength training isn’t just about increasing muscle mass. It’s about improving your overall fitness level, enhancing your endurance, and reducing your risk of injury. So, are you ready to get started?

List of Essential Strength Training Exercises for Runners: 

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Single-leg Romanian deadlifts
  • Forward and reverse lunges
  • Lateral lunges
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Step ups
  • Hamstring curls
  • Glute bridges
  • Calf raises
  • Clam shells/banded side steps
  • Push-ups
  • Planks

And there’s more! These exercises are not set in stone. Feel free to add or remove exercises that suit your needs and ability. The key is to maintain a balanced and comprehensive strength training program. 

Think of it like a symphony: each exercise is an instrument that plays a crucial part in creating a harmonious melody. Omitting one could disrupt the balance, while thoughtfully adding another could enhance the overall performance. Your body, much like a symphony, thrives on balance and diversity!

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7 Tips For Strength Training For Runners

Are you a runner looking to enhance your performance? Or maybe you’re just getting started with your running journey and you’re searching for ways to strengthen your body? Well, if you’re nodding your head in agreement, then buckle up! We’re going to delve into the 7 crucial tips for strength training for runners. 

1. Prioritize Your Core 

Have you ever wondered why professional runners have such lean and defined abs? It’s because your core is the powerhouse of your body. It’s the control center, the command post if you will, of your running performance. 

  • Include exercises like planks, Russian twists, and bird-dogs in your training regimen.

2. Don’t Neglect Your Lower Body 

“Running is a lower-body dominant exercise.”

You’re not just moving your legs when you run, but propelling your entire body forward. This requires serious lower body strength

  1. Exercise choices: Squats, lunges, deadlifts.

3. Balance Out with Upper Body Workouts 

While your legs do most of the work in running, your upper body isn’t just along for the ride. Imagine your body as a well-oiled machine. All parts need to work in harmony. 

  • Workout choices: Push-ups, pull-ups, and overhead presses.

4. Incorporate Flexibility Training 

Adding flexibility training into your routine isn’t just a good idea, it’s crucial. Think of your muscles as rubber bands. The more you can stretch them without breaking, the better they’ll work. 

  • Yoga, Pilates, and static stretching are all excellent choices.

5. Rest and Recover 

This might seem contrary to the idea of training hard, but remember, your body needs time to recover and adapt to the new stressors. 

“Rest is not idleness”

6. Hydrate and Refuel 

Just like a car needs fuel to run, your body needs proper hydration and nutrition to perform at its best. 

Drink at least 8 glasses of water a dayEat a balanced diet rich in proteins, carbs and fats

7. Listen to Your Body 

Last but not least, always listen to your body. If something feels off or hurts, don’t push through the pain. Your body is your guide, and it knows when it’s time to slow down or change something. 

So there you have it, the 7 tips for strength training for runners. Incorporate these into your routine, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a stronger and more efficient runner.


There you have it! Now you’re equipped with the fundamental knowledge of strength training for runners. But, remember, knowledge is only powerful when acted upon. So, what are you waiting for? 

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

Are you ready to take the leap and incorporate strength training into your running routine? You have the guidelines, the techniques, and the benefits right at your fingertips. Now it’s time to put them into action! 

  • Start slow: You don’t have to go all out from the word go. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
  • Consistency is key: Make it a habit. Carve out a schedule and stick to it. Consistency is the secret sauce to progress in strength training.
  • Listen to your body: If you feel any discomfort or pain while exercising, stop immediately. Do not push through the pain, it can lead to injuries.

Your Journey Begins Here 

Let’s not forget, running is a journey, not a destination. You’re not alone in this journey. Millions of runners around the world have reaped the benefits of strength training. 

Strength TrainingImproves running efficiency and reduces the risk of injury
RunningEnhances cardiovascular health and boosts mental well-being
Combo of Running + Strength TrainingMaximizes overall fitness and performance

So, are you ready to Run Strong? Start your strength training journey today and see how far it takes you!

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