Strength and Conditioning for Running

Want to become a better runner?

A lot of runners dont think about lifting weights as part of their training. “If I’m going to run, don’t I need to just practice running?” If you want to really progress as runner, the answer is no.Everyone (runners included!) need to strengthen their whole body to remain strong and injury free. The muscles predominantly used in running (besides the heart) are those of the legs and of the core. Therefore it makes sense to train these muscles to become a better runner, simples!

The gait (walk, jog or run) is one of the primary human movement patterns and is the first thing we learn to do. Having strong legs increases the distance we can move with each step, increases the amount of time we can run for and reduces our chances of hurting ourselves while running. This can be done through learning functional movement during your gym routine!

There are 2 exercises that are king in the gym: squats and deadlifts. A squat is a quad dominant lift while a deadlift is a hip dominant lift, but both of these exercises recruit basically all the muscles of the legs and core and both are fantastic exercises for runners to perform in the gym. Combine these 2 with some good core specific training and you have yourself a good base to develop your running program. Let’s have a closer look at these 3 now.

The squat

Most people have some idea of what a squat is. Both weighted and body weight squats are great for runners, but it’s the progressions that really get you working hard.
Because running is basically hopping from one foot to the other while moving forward, single leg quad dominant exercises like pistol squats or lunges are perfect for building up the strength needed to repeat this action over and over again without fatiguing early or succumbing to injury.

The Deadlift

This exercise is great for strengthening the posterior chain and is an invaluable tool for runners to increase their thrust and technique.

There are many variations of this exercise (including single leg exercises) that we can use, but a particularly relevant one for runners is the supine barbell hip extension which helps to increase your speed and acceleration.

Core Specific Work

Having a strong core promotes equal weight distribution in the body and increased stability. When we run we are constantly unstable as we shift our weight from one foot to the other. Without a strong core, the body will contort resulting in poor running technique and risk of injury. There are so many good core exercises like mountain climbers and cable rotations that runners can use in their programs to help them become stronger and more stable.

This is just a basic outline and each program depends on what type of runner the person is, what distance they are running, injuries, etc. If you would like some more information on strength and conditioning for runners, a new program or just have a question, feel free to drop by or send us a message online!

See you in the gym,

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