Proper training for running can present many challenges, especially when athletes desire to run faster and avoid injuries. Many athletes run with a laser-like focus on mileage or training volume only to find themselves injured or stuck at a plateau during their workouts.

If you are eager to improve your speed and prevent injuries, it might surprise you that it is time to hop off the trails or treadmill and jog on over to the gym.

A common misconception is that running itself is the primary way to improve overall running condition. You will see greater results and train healthier if strength training becomes a consistent part of your training program.

Exercises for Runners:


Hips and Legs
Beginners, 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
Advanced, 3-4 sets of 15-18 reps, stop when form fatigues
– Side lying leg lifts (use leg weights for more resistance)
– Straight leg lifts lying on back (place hands under the hips for support)
– Single leg bridge (squeeze small ball between knees for adductor muscles)
– Lunges (forward or stationary, using dumbbells for added resistance)
– Step-ups (use a box or bench that fits your height – add medicine ball to increase challenge)

Beginners, hold exercise for 30 seconds, 2 sets
Advanced, hold each exercise for 60-90 seconds, 2-3 sets
– Plank (hold for time)
– Side Plank (add hip drop toward floor for increased challenge)
– Russian Twist (hold a medicine ball)
– Plank with Rotation (twisting motion through hips while maintaining a strong
– Superman or Skydivers (hold for time)

These strength-training exercises should be added to your routine and performed 2-3 times per week. Including exercises that focus on strength training of the hips, legs and core will enhance your running performance and minimize risk of injury.

Paul-webPaul Herberger is a NASM Correctional Exercise Specialist at the Ridge Athletic Clubs, a USA Swimming Certified Coach, and an aspiring Professional Triathlete.