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In our continuing series of training and workouts for runners, we circle to strength training. This session is for runners ready to start strength training, whether a seasoned marathoner or starting out their running journey. This easy strength training routine for runners, targeting the lower body, is simple and quick enough to add in post-run.
Beginners often assume that because running is a leg-dominant activity, it’s unnecessary to do targeted lower-body strength training. However, the opposite is actually true. Lower-body strength training is essential to help correct muscle imbalances and strengthen the muscles used for running to improve performance and prevent injuries. Even runners with many years of experience in their legs can shirk off the need for lower leg strength workouts. We get it, sometimes even 15 minutes is too many minutes when you have a packed schedule However, strength training is never time mis-spent. Take those 15 minutes and your legs will thank you.
This workout focuses on a lot of unilateral movements (single side) because running is a unilateral movement. Performing unilateral exercises helps you train in a more functional way for running, and will enable you to identify and work on muscle imbalances between the right and left side.
“It isn’t always the fastest person that gets to the finish line first, it’s the strongest person,” Sally McRae,
Leg Workout for Runners
When you first start out, you can do all of the exercises with bodyweight only.
If you have dumbbells available, progress to adding weight once you can do 3 sets of each exercise for the listed number of reps.
Perform the workout 2-3 times per week after you run.
- 20 squats
- 30 second wall sit or squat hold
- 15 forward lunges per leg
- 15 reverse lunges per leg
- 15 lateral lunges per leg
- 30 second single-leg balance per leg
- 15 single leg bridges per leg
- 15 side leg raises per leg
- 15 single-leg heel raises per leg
- 15 toes raises (stand on your heels and raise your toes up or walk on your heels for 30 steps)
Begin with one set and work up to three sets of each exercise. Focus on good form and technique, keeping your core tight.