I’ve been running for a fair while now, (around 10 years in fact!) but injury has held me back many times. The worst was 2 years of plantar fasciitis, which seriously affected my ability to run. Something I know now, is that strength training is pretty much essential for injury free running, unless you’re one of those lucky people who just never seems to get injured! And of course, nothing can guarantee you won’t pick up an injury at some point, even with lots of strength training, but adding strength work into your weekly routine will certainly minimise the risk!
Sometimes I do dedicated running specific strength workouts, other times I mix running specific exercises into a whole body workout. Here are 5 of my favourites to get you started if you’re new to strength training:
There are tonnes of variations to lunges, including adding a knee thrust (one of my favourites!). Start with regular lunges, then try mixing it up by adding different variations to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and quads!
If you’re a beginner, start with regular squats to give strength to the glutes. When you feel read, try single legged squats! These are tricky, so don’t be put off if you don’t have much mobility at first! You can try bulgarian split squats to start with, then work up to pistol squats!
Single Leg Deadlifts
Single leg exercises can help with muscle imbalances, as well as improve your core strength and balance along with your leg strength! Try this variation of a traditional deadlift. You don’t need any weight to begin with, but you could add a dumbbell, kettlebell or powerbag as you get stronger.
Side Leg Raises
The first 3 exercises are all big strength moves, but it’s important to target smaller muscle groups too. To strengthen the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and TFL, try side leg raises where these muscles will be working hard stabilising your pelvis as well as performing the abduction aspect of the exercise.
Okay, so technically this is one of my least favourites they burn! But, they’re really good for improving glute function as well as strengthening the hip area and improving your balance! Another exercise to target the smaller, more specific muscle groups.
So those are 5 of my favourite bodyweight strength exercises for runners! I know that a lot of the time, runners just want to get out the door and not spend time doing other forms of exercise, but trust me – adding strength work into your exercise plan will be so beneficial to get you running stronger (and faster!).
If you want video demonstrations of these exercises, the majority of them are included in the exercise library in my membership! If you’re not a member yet, click here for 7 days of free unlimited access!
Do you incorporate strength training into your exercise routine?
What are some of your favourite exercises?