How to Improve Your Running with Strength Training

Strength training for runners

By Will Bennett, CSCS, FMS1


It’s no secret that strength training, when performed correctly, can boost a runner’s performance. However, most people are unsure how to workout correctly. To gain the most benefit from strength training, there are several factors that need to be addressed. It would not be wise to just pick up some weights and perform the first 5 exercises you see in a youtube video. In this article, I am going to address why strength training is beneficial for runners, and the best way to maximize these benefits through smart exercise selection and execution.

What Running Does to Your Body

Running, just like any other type of exercise, puts stress on your body. This stress causes adaptation that elicits changes like decreased fat mass and increased cardiovascular endurance. However, when you run, your joints and muscles bear the force of every step you take. This repeated microtrauma can take its toll on your body if proper steps (no pun intended) are not taken. To keep you feeling your best, it is crucial to focus on a combination of running, recovery strategies, and strength training.


Related: Feeling Knee Pain? 5 Simple Exercises You Need To Do


How to Train

Simply put, your goals will determine how you strength train. If your goal is to run a marathon, then heavy squats are not going to be a staple of your training regimen. Our aim is to prevent injury and keep your body prepared for running. Your strength training program should reflect that. When we break the act of running down into movement patterns, we can see that it is advantageous to train with a focus on unilateral, rotational core, and eccentric movements. in other words, one limb exercises, twisting body motions and the lowering phase of exercises will carry over to running the best.

These types of movements target the muscles in a way that is similar to the forces that stress the body during running. If your training program emphasizes strengthening these areas then you will increase your running performance and decrease your risk of injury.

4 exercise to improve your running


Step Up

Step ups are a useful exercise for building quads and glutes, the latter being a weakness for many runners.


Wood Chopper

Wood choppers are a rotational core movement that I have found to be very effective.


Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

Hamstring curls on a stability ball are a great way to target the posterior side of your body eccentrically. Every time you run, your hamstrings provide the braking mechanism with every step you take. Increasing your eccentric strength is crucial in helping to prevent injuries like a strain.


Stir The Pot

Stir the pots are also performed on a stability ball, and provide a tough challenge for the core muscles.

The Takeaway

If performed correctly, strength training can provide a huge boost to not only running performance, but longevity as well. Strength and recovery are equally as important as logging miles. Using smart exercise selection and building strength in areas with deficiencies will decrease risk of injury. Supplement these exercises into your program and unlock your potential to be the best version of you!

By | 2016-10-18T09:14:29+00:00 January 29th, 2016|Training|Comments Off on How to Improve Your Running with Strength Training