Intro to Strength Training for Runners (Part One)

Minimize your risk of injuries and improve your PR time this competition season by adding strength training into your training regimen.

How strength training makes you a better athlete

  • Stronger core strength
  • Lower body strength for sprints
  • Improve balance
  • Injury prevention

Scheduling your workouts

How often you should incorporate strength training into your schedule will depend on your mileage. During the off-season when you're running less, there should put a heavier focus on strength training to build a strong base for competition season. Once spring training begins, you can begin to minimize your strength training to 2-3 times per week for maintenance and injury prevention.

Most coaches suggest that runners perform their weight training after their runs in order to reserve most of their energy for running; however, this could vary depending on their training goal for the day.


Exercise List

Including compound exercises which utilizes several muscles in one workout will be the most beneficial and efficient way to train. Although runners typically pay more attention to lower body workouts, maintaining a strong upper body is equally important.

  • Hip Abductions
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Deadlifts
  • Planks
  • Bench Press

For years the philosophy of weight training for endurance athletes included low weight and high reps to simulate muscular endurance. However, recently more coaches are opting for heavier weights and lower reps. Why? Runners already have great muscular endurance qualities from track workouts; therefore, lifting heavier loads and lower reps will result in improvements in their strength and power outputs for a stronger race.

Want to know more about strength training for runners? We're preparing a big guest post to provide elite runners with more insights on the benefits of strength training and how to get your body ready for competition. Stay tuned!


1) Douglas, Scot. How Best to Combine Strength Training and Running. Runner's World.

2) Gaudette, Jeff. Should Distance Runners Lift Heavy? Competitor Running.

3) Schwartz, Trish. Is it better to do my cardio workout before of after my strength training exercises? American Council of Exercise.