Runners: It’s Time to Stop Ignoring Strength Training


Congrats on staying dedicated to running, but have you been ignoring the essential component that’ll take your running to the next level? 

You’ve actually turned down most of the random snacks that float around the office. You’re following a fantastic running regimen and you’re more than committed to it. Basically, you’re really on point with your current training cycle and ready to crush your next race. But are you also spending QT strength training as part of your routine?

Long gone are the days where athletes of any sport are just working on their craft. Many, if not all, have a strength and conditioning program to work on key areas to keep their engines running strong. Join the party! Here’s what you need to do to stay in shape and slay those PRs:

More Than a Lifting “Bro-Gram” Weight Training

A solid strength program for runners will not only improve your running, but will also work on those smaller muscle weaknesses and imbalances that can compound and inhibit you in the late stages of a marathon. Here are some great exercises to help strengthen common problem areas:

  • Lateral tube walks & clamshells: Do your knees turn inward when you squat or run? Lateral tube walks and clamshells are great exercises that strengthen those ever-pesky gluteus medius muscles. You may find that some knee pain disappears now that your legs move in a straighter line.
  • Reverse dumbell fly: If you’re hunched over when you run, you’re inhibiting your oxygen intake. Add reverse dumbbell flys to your training program. You’ll run taller and be able to take bigger breaths with your chest fully opened.
  • Stability ball leg curls: Fully use those thighs when you run! Many runners don’t use their hamstrings enough. A great exercise to strengthen them are stability ball leg curls. You’ll be able to power up hills on your next run.

Planks, Rows and Deadlifts – Oh My!

The stronger you get, the more you can keep going at a faster pace without petering out. Even when using a moderate amount of weight, you’ll find yourself getting stronger without bulking up. Here are some exercises to power up your running:

  • Deadlifts – Great for building up those hammys! Done with either two legs or one, you might not feel like you’re doing much at the moment. But just you wait until the next day – you’ll wonder why your legs are jelly. You can thank the deadlifts for that.
  • Dumbbell rows – Your arm swings are your power generators when running. Challenge yourself: See how fast you run with your arms wrapped around you. Hard, right? That’s how important your lats – and lat strength – are to running.
  • Renegade rows – This is a great way to blast your core. This move will tighten up the tummy, incorporate your glutes and quads, and increase core stability. A denser torso means your body won’t waste energy trying to hold itself together and will be able to focus on running.

This is just a snippet of an actual full-blown strength training program. Done properly, you’ll start to see those gains in the form of time dropping on your favorite running course.

RELATED: 6 Totally Game-Changing Exercises for Runners

Don’t Forget To Foam Roll & Stretch

Muscles get tight from overuse, which inhibits range of motion. Picture this: A rubber band with a knot or two in it will still stretch, but not as much as it would if those knots weren’t there. Your body is the same way. While getting stronger helps prevent injury by strengthening the ligaments, tendons and connective tissues in your body, you’ll find your muscles tightening up from strength training, which will hinder your running. I know, it’s a vicious cycle. So dust off your foam roller and spend time rolling out and stretching those tight areas. Your body will love you for it. Here are some key areas to target:

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Foam Rolling

  • Glutes & hammys – Place the roller underneath your thighs and roll slowly over any tight spots. Think steam roller, not speed racer. To get the glutes, sit on the roller, cross one leg over the knee of other and roll up and down on that side of your tush with the crossed leg. Use your same side arm to balance.
  • Calves – Place the roller underneath the calves with your hand behind you. Use your hands to roll your calves over the roller. Again, stay a bit longer on those tight areas.
  • Back & lats – Lie on your side on the floor and place the roller underneath your armpit. Slowly roll from there to about halfway down your rib cage to target your lats. You can also lie with your back flat against the roller and roll from your shoulders down to your lower back. There’s a chance you might hear your spine popping – crack, snap, pop!
  • Quads – Turn over and lie face down with the roller on your quads. Use your elbows to drag your thighs up and down the roller. Turn your feet outward to hit different quad muscles. Then turn onto your side to get that infamous IT band.



In four weeks, John Bermudez swam and completed the 2018 Boston Marathon, place 2nd in his age group at the La Jolla Half Marathon and finished 4th in his division at the Spring Sprint Triathlon. Currently, John is attempting to put down the pizza, burritos and cheeseburgers with minimal success as he rests until the next training cycle start for his fall races. Follow John’s love for family, food, training and life on Instagram

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