You are ready to level up your running with my strength training for runners plan! That’s awesome!
This strength plan for runners (below) serves as your jumping-off point to give you confidence and in the habit of lifting and running.
The strength plan is one you can do at home with your kids around, no equipment is needed. It leverages your body weight and then can be intensified by adding weights, going through the movement patterns slower, using eccentric holds, etc.
Strength training has helped countless runners improve performance (me included) by increasing power and turnover in the legs and preventing injury.
What’s more, is that it also gives you confidence on the roads and track. I don’t think the mental aspect has been studied much, but I know when I’m running and start to feel tired—I remind myself that I am stronger and think of all the work I’ve put in pumping iron. Voila! I am no longer tired but feel STRONG.
So, I’m glad you’re trying this performance enhancer for runners!
I’ve created a complete guide on strength training for runners but will answer some questions below:
- Is strength training good for runners?
- What strength training should runners do?
- How often should runners strength train?
- Is strength training once a week enough for runners?
- Should you strength train before or after running?
- Should you lift weights before a race?
- Top strength training tips for runners
- Sample Running and Strength Training Schedule
- My 30-minute at-home strength training workout plan for runners
Is strength training good for runners?
Yes, strength training is good for runners. Lifting weights can help runners increase their power, speed, endurance, and prevent injuries.
What strength training should runners do?
Runners should focus on the 6 main movement patterns for strength training. This includes push (push-up), pull (pull-up or inverted row), hinge (e.g. deadlift), carry (suitcase carry), squat (goblet squat), and lunge (single leg lunge).
Runners need to focus on full-body strength to maintain good running form in hard workouts and races.
Related: How to Fix Your Running Form
How often should runners strength train?
Generally speaking, runners should strength train twice a week. However, if a runner is in off-season and only running easy base mileage, they can lift weights three or two times a week.
As the intensity and volume increase for runners, lifting sessions will decrease and will move into maintenance mode.
Is strength training once a week enough for runners?
Strength training once a week is not going to make you stronger, but it may maintain muscle mass. And if you can only strength train once a week, that’s better than nothing. Ideally, runners will get in two strength-training sessions a week.
For my athletes, I program two strength training days after harder running workouts, maximizing hard days and easy days for optimal recovery. I also often include another day of Pilates or yoga for more strength and conditioning.
Related: 6 Essential Yoga Poses for Runners
Should you strength train before or after running?
In most cases, lift weights after you run. Ideally, you will run, and then a few hours later, lift.
However, many of us don’t have time to do this. So, if you must lift right after your run, go ahead. It’s just the quality of your lift session may not be as good.
You may lift before your run if the lifting is the priority of your training. For example, if you are in the base phase and only running easy miles and looking to build strength—lift first when you are fresh, then do your easy miles after.
But, if you are in the competition phase of your cycle, do your running workout first, recover, then lift.
Should I lift before a race?
Do not lift in the week or two ahead of a race. Take a longer break the longer the race. For example, skip your lift sessions for the week ahead of a 5k. Skip your lift sessions for two weeks ahead of a marathon.
Related: 26 Pro Tips for Going 26.2
Here are my 7 strength training tips for runners:
- Lift after running. Do not lift before running. Ideally, lift weights a few hours after a hard running workout to make both sessions quality sessions and isolate your hard days so you can recover on easy days.
- Be consistent. Lifting is like running. You need a progressive overload to spur those physiological changes you want to get stronger and faster.
- Strengthen your whole body. Don’t just focus on your legs. You need a strong upper body and core to maintain good running form when you get tired.
- Lift heavy. Studies show that lifting low reps and high weights are where the changes occur to give runners more speed and power. Start with weight that you can lift no more than 12 times. You can progressively load this by doing 12, 10, 8, 6 reps and gradually increasing the weight with each rep.
- Practice good form. In most cases, maintain a neutral back. If you feel any tension in the low back, stop. The last thing you want is a lifting injury that keeps you from running.
- Mix it up. Just like your running plateaus if you run the same distance and pace every day, so does your lifting. Aim to do two different sessions per week for a month, and then switch it up. You can change the weight, the time it takes to go down (eccentric) or up or hold (isometric), and the number of reps. My run coaching includes strength training workouts for runners as well.
- Keep it challenging. If you are just going through the movement of strength training, then you are wasting your time. It should feel challenging each session. You want the muscles to break down a bit so that when you rest, they build back stronger…and lead to speedier running.
Sample Running and Strength Training Schedule
- Monday: easy run
- Tuesday: AM track workout, PM lift session
- Wednesday: easy mid-week long run
- Thursday: AM tempo run, PM lift session
- Friday: REST
- Saturday: long run
- Sunday: Yoga or Pilates
At-home 30-minute Strength Training Plan for Runners
Strength training can make mother runners faster and prevent injuries. Yet, most of us don’t have time to do it. That’s why I developed this full-body at-home strength plan for runners that works all key muscle areas recruited in running. Think of this plan as your springboard to get you in the habit of strengthening your full body to help you run faster and better. This strength plan for runners you can easily do at home with no equipment needed. Level up with strength you do with weights through my run coaching or an app, gym, or online videos!