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Which Exercises Should Be Included In A Strength Training Plan For Runners?

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Did you know that adding a strength training plan for runners to your routine can make you even better at it?

When you lift weights or do exercises that make your muscles work harder, it can help you run faster, longer, and with less risk of getting hurt.

These exercises will help you run with more power, efficiency, and resilience.

In this blog, we will give you key exercises enhancing your running ability and offer you solutions to your common questions about including a training plan into your routine.

Enhance Your Running Performance with Strength Training

Adding strength training to your routine can help boost your performance and keep you injury-free

Targeting key muscles like your thighs, butt, and core, exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts can improve your running power and stability. 


Squats work lots of muscles like your thighs, butt, and core. 

They help you push off the ground when you run and keep you steady when going uphill or sprinting. 

Start with simple squats without weights. 

Then, as you get stronger, you can add weights like dumbbells or a barbell.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees like you're sitting down in a chair, then stand back up.


Lunges also work your thighs, butt, and core, but they also improve your balance. 

This helps you stay steady while running, which is super important.

Try forward lunges, where you step forward and lower your body, reverse lunges where you step back, or walking lunges where you keep moving forward.

Step one foot forward and lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, then return to standing and switch legs.


Deadlifts focus on the back of your legs and lower back. 

They make these muscles strong, which helps you run more efficiently and avoid getting hurt.

Be careful with your form: keep your back straight and lift with your legs, not your back. 

Start with light weights and work your way up.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, bend your knees slightly, then hinge at your hips to lower the weights towards the ground, keeping your back straight.

Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts target your butt muscles, which are crucial for powering your stride when you run. 

They also work your hamstrings and core.

Sit on the ground with your shoulders against a bench, put a weight across your hips, and lift your hips towards the ceiling.

Sit on the ground with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and a weight resting on your hips. 

Push through your heels to lift your hips up, then lower back down.

Single-Leg Exercises

These exercises, like single-leg squats or step-ups, help fix any imbalances between your legs. 

This makes your running smoother and reduces the risk of injuries.

Focus on keeping your balance and control while doing these exercises.

Stand on one leg and squat down, then stand back up. Switch legs and repeat.

Core Exercises

A strong core keeps you steady and helps you maintain good form while running. 

Planks, twists, and bicycle crunches are great for strengthening your core.

Do a mix of static (holding) and dynamic (moving) exercises for your core.

Get into a plank position, with your body in a straight line from head to heels, and hold for 30 seconds to a minute.

Plyometrics are explosive movements that make your muscles fast and powerful. 

Plyometric Exercises

This helps you run faster and more efficiently.

Box jumps, jump squats, and bounding drills are all examples of plyometric exercises.

Jump onto a box or platform from a squatting position, then jump back down and repeat.

Stability and Balance Exercises

These exercises help improve your balance and coordination, reducing the risk of ankle sprains and other injuries.

Try single-leg balance drills or exercises using stability balls or Bosu balls.

Stand on one leg and try to balance for as long as you can without letting your other foot touch the ground.

Incorporating strength training into your running routine can make a big difference in your performance and endurance. 

Working on key muscle groups like your thighs, butt, and core, exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts help you run with more power and stability.

Beginner's Strength Training Plan for Runners

Portrait of young female athlete launching off the start line in a race.

This beginner's plan aims to ease you into strength training gradually, aiding in the development of strength and confidence over 10 weeks.

Week 1-2: Getting Started

During the initial two weeks, concentrate on bodyweight exercises to become accustomed to the movements. 

Perform 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions for each exercise, maintaining a comfortable intensity level. 

This phase establishes a foundation of strength and readies your muscles for more demanding exercises in the upcoming weeks.

Week 3-4: Adding Variation

Throughout weeks three and four, introduce variations of each exercise to target different muscle groups. 

Increase the number of sets to 3-4 and repetitions to 12-15 to gradually escalate the workload. 

Diversifying your routine prevents monotony and ensures all muscles are effectively engaged.

Week 5-6: Introducing Light Weights

Incorporate light weights like dumbbells or resistance bands to provide resistance during exercises. 

Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions with these light weights, emphasising proper form throughout. 

This phase intensifies the challenge to your muscles and encourages growth without risking injury.

Week 7-8: Building Strength

During weeks seven and eight, progressively raise the weight as you become more comfortable with the exercises. 

Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions with moderate weights, focusing on controlled movements and full range of motion. 

Gradually building strength allows your muscles to adapt and grow stronger over time.

Week 9-10: Progression and Refinement

Concentrate on perfecting your form and technique for each exercise in the final two weeks. 

Increase the intensity by adding more weight or performing more challenging variations of the exercises. 

Prioritising proper form and pushing yourself safely can optimise the benefits of your strength training plan and enhance your overall performance as a runner.

Following this 10-week beginner's plan, strength can be gradually built, running performance can improve, and the risk of injuries can be reduced. 

Starting slowly, focusing on proper form, and listening to your body throughout the process are crucial. 

With dedication and consistency, the benefits of incorporating strength training into your running routine will soon become evident.

What is the best strength training program for runners?

The best strength training program for runners focuses on exercises that strengthen the muscles you use when you run, like your legs, butt, and core.

This means doing things like squats, lunges, deadlifts, and core exercises. 

It's important to have a mix of exercises that work different parts of your body and help improve your stability. 

To start, you can do exercises using just your bodyweight, like squats without weights, and then as you get stronger, you can add weights like dumbbells or a barbell. 

Gradually increasing the weight you lift will help you keep getting stronger without hurting yourself.

Before Starting the Strength Training Plan


Spend 5-10 minutes doing light cardio like jogging or jumping jacks to get your muscles warm and your heart rate up.

Dynamic Stretches

Perform dynamic stretches like leg swings, arm circles, and hip circles to loosen up your muscles and joints.

Mobility Exercises

Incorporate mobility exercises such as hip openers and shoulder circles to improve range of motion and flexibility.

Activate Muscles

Do activation exercises like glute bridges and side leg lifts to wake up the muscles you'll be using during strength training.


Drink water before, during, and after your workout to stay hydrated and prevent cramps and fatigue.

mixed race sportsman sitting at stadium and drinking water

What to Avoid to Prevent Injuries

Ensuring a safe and effective strength training routine involves not only knowing what exercises to do but also understanding what to avoid. 

These precautions can significantly reduce the risk of injury and maximise the benefits of your workouts.

Skipping Warm-up

The warm-up is essential as it helps prepare your body for exercise by increasing blood flow to your muscles and improving flexibility.

Overdoing It

Avoid lifting weights that are too heavy or doing too many repetitions, especially when you're just starting out with strength training. 

This helps prevent muscle strains, joint injuries, and overexertion.

Poor Form

Focus on maintaining proper form throughout each exercise to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your muscles and joints. 

This reduces the risk of injuries and ensures that you're effectively targeting the intended muscle groups.

Ignoring Pain

Pay attention to any sharp pain or discomfort during exercises, as it could be a sign of injury. 

Stop the exercise immediately if you experience pain and seek guidance from a fitness professional or healthcare provider if needed.

Not Resting

Allow your muscles adequate time to rest and recover between strength training sessions. 

Overtraining without proper rest can lead to fatigue, increased risk of injury, and hindered progress in strength and fitness gains. Incorporating rest days into your routine is essential for optimal recovery and performance.

Prioritising safety in your strength training regimen is crucial for long-term success and injury prevention. 

Avoiding common pitfalls such as skipping warm-ups, overexertion, poor form, ignoring pain signals, and inadequate rest can ensure that your workouts are effective and sustainable. 

Consistency and patience are key to achieving your fitness goals while maintaining a healthy, injury-free body.

How many times a week should a runner strength train?

For runners, it's recommended to strength train about 2 to 3 times a week. 

This helps to build up muscles that are important for running, like the legs, buttocks, and core. 

By doing strength training regularly, runners can improve their speed, endurance, and overall performance. 

A good strength training program includes exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts, which target these key muscles. 

These exercises help to make runners stronger, reduce the risk of injuries, and make their runs feel easier. 

So, aiming for 2 to 3 sessions a week can really make a difference in a runner's training routine.

How Do I Schedule Strength Training And Running?

Getting the right balance between strength training and running is important for reaching your fitness goals and staying safe from injuries. 

Planning when you do each activity can make sure you get the most out of both and improve your running abilities.

Alternate Days Approach

Alternate between days dedicated to running and days for strength training.

This approach allows for sufficient rest and recovery between workouts.

For example, run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and do strength training on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Post-Run Strength Training

Incorporate shorter strength training sessions immediately after your runs.

Running warms up your muscles, making it an ideal time to engage in strength exercises.

This method ensures that you make the most of your warm-up and cooldown periods.

Best Strength Training Exercises for Runners

Focus on exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts.

These exercises target essential muscles used in running, such as the legs, butt, and core.

Strengthening these muscles improves running efficiency, speed, and reduces the risk of injury.

Weekly Schedule Example

Run in the morning on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Perform strength training in the afternoon or evening of the same days.

Alternatively, do a short strength training session after your runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Rest and Recovery

Ensure to include at least one rest day per week.

Rest days allow your body to recover fully from workouts and prevent overtraining.

Use rest days for light activities, stretching, or active recovery exercises to aid in muscle recovery.

Adding strength training to your running routine can improve your running ability and reduce your risk of getting hurt. 

Switching between days for strength training and days for running, and doing exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts, can make your muscles stronger and improve your running. 

It's important to pay attention to how your body feels, take breaks to rest, and keep up with your training to get better over time.

Reach Your Running Goals with Lisburn Gym

Adding strength training to your running routine can make you a better runner and help you avoid getting hurt. 

Doing exercises that work important muscles, improve how steady you are, and make you stronger and faster will help you become a better runner. 

Start slow, focus on doing the exercises correctly, and listen to your body to avoid getting hurt. 

Take your fitness to the next level, join Lisburn Gym today

You'll get access to group training sessions that are made by experts to help you reach your goals fast. 

No matter how busy you are, there's a time that works for you to start your journey to being healthier and stronger.

Written by admin

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