Strength Training For Runners: Essential Tips & Workouts

Strength training is often neglected by runners. It shouldn’t be!

If you ask most runners what they love about running, they will tell you it’s the actual running. We love lacing up our shoes, popping in the AirPods with some great tunes or meeting up with friends, and moving our bodies through nature (or on a track, treadmill, or sidewalk – dealer’s choice). Running ignites our muscles and allows us to experience a high like no other.

Here’s the thing – if you want to run longer, faster, and sans injury, you need to do more than run. Yes, running builds your cardiovascular strength, tones your muscles, and improves your overall health. But you need to build a strong body to run with a strong body. And that’s where the humble strength training workout comes in.

You need to put in the effort to see the effects, which means getting down on the floor and building yourself from the ground up. If you’re looking at adding some strength training to your running preparations, we’ve got the perfect guide for you…

Strength Training For Runners – What Is It?

Strength training for runners

If you’ve never heard of strength training before, you have likely heard it called by one of its other names: weight lifting, resistance training, or weight training. In its simplest form, strength training involves doing a series of exercises using resistance to increase the endurance, size, power, and strength of the muscles.

So what is resistance?

It is an item that you have to pull or lift to get movement. Resistance items include weights (barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags, etc.), resistance bands, certain gym machines, and your own body.

Many of us forget that if you weigh 160 pounds and you do a squat, you’ve squatted 160 pounds.

Runners don’t need (or want) large, bulky muscles as the heavier you are, the more effort it takes to move your body over distance. Rather, you want to build long, lean, strong muscles that help you with your efficiency and form.

Before we get into the exercises you can do to build these muscles, we’ll look at why you should do strength training.

Benefits of Strength Training For Runners 

Obviously, to be a better runner, you need to run. But building your strength has so many benefits that will make you the best runner you can be. We know strength training is good for your health and well-being, but there are some running-specific benefits to keep in mind.

Some of the main benefits runners can gain from strength training include the following.

1. Improves Running Efficiency and Economy

Strength workouts improve your biomechanics to build strong neuromuscular connections, allowing your brain to better recruit the muscles you have to behave in a certain way. The result of having stronger neuromuscular connections in more powerful movements. This directly impacts your running economy. 

How does this work? As your economy improves, you can run longer and faster before you tire. By strengthening the muscles used while running (your legs, core, and shoulders), your body can support proper alignment. You can run more efficiently as you use less energy to hold yourself in the ideal running form.

Here’s a shocking statistic: Even professional long-distance runners showed an improvement of around 8% in their running economy after including strength training in their training plan.

2. Increase Running Performance Overall

A 2017 study showed that runners who do strength training had improved VO2 max (aerobic capacity) and endurance. Let’s break that down.

Your VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can consume in a specified time during intense exertions. In simpler terms (thank goodness!), it’s the volume of oxygen your body can intake and use during maximum efforts.

Your running economy is a key factor when we talk about endurance regarding running performance. Your running economy is how much oxygen your body uses at various running paces. When you do strength training, you improve your economy, which means you use less oxygen to run faster and further. 

Strength workouts improve your running economy because of their impact on your use of elastic energy, which means you reduce the amount of work your muscles need to do so you can propel your body forward more easily.

3. Prevents Overuse Injuries

The average runner does about 1,500 steps per mile, and with each step, your body absorbs a force around double your weight. It’s easy to see how injuries can happen if you look at the massive strain running places on your body in just one easy run.

A tremendous benefit you can gain from strength training is preventing and reducing overuse injuries. Strength workouts fortify your body to tolerate the demands and impacts placed on your musculoskeletal system when running.

When you do resistance workouts, you develop your connective tissues’ and muscles’ ability to handle high loads, offsetting the stress on your bones, joints, and cartilage.

4. Improves Your Running Form

Running with a hunched posture and tight shoulders compromises your ability to breathe properly and can result in cramps, stitches, or an injury. Strength training improves your form, stride, and biomechanics through core stability.

You can hold a more upright posture no matter how many miles you’ve already run when you have a strong core. Plus, having stronger hip and glute muscles will help you run up hills with less effort.

Roughly 80% of our energy when running is used to support our bodies and propel ourselves forward. You increase your efficiency by reducing your center of mass’s movements up and down. Explaining this is a bit technical, so stick with us:

Gravity pulls our mass towards the center of the earth. We counter this force by applying equal force in the opposite direction. The longer we take to apply the counterforce, the more our center of mass is pulled downwards. Why does this matter? The longer we take to respond, the longer our feet are in contact with the ground during each step.

Right, that’s it for the science lesson, but how does this tie into our running form?

When we have stronger muscles, joints, and tendons, this contact time is reduced as we can bounce up more easily, improving our running economy and holding our form in place.

Studies have also shown that resistance training improves hip and torso biomechanics, which leads to better running economy, efficiency, and form.

5. Increases Your Metabolic Rate

Strength workouts are anabolic, whereas running is catabolic. What’s the difference? Anabolic exercises build your body up, while catabolic exercises break your body down. That sounds scary, but both have their benefits. 

Catabolic activities, like running, break down your body’s fat and help you lose weight. Anabolic activities, like strength workouts, affect your metabolism or, more specifically, how many calories your body burns throughout the day.

Strength training builds your muscle mass, so you burn calories more quickly, burning fat and optimizing your body’s running composition.

6. Increases Your Bone Density

There’s no downside to having strong bones, so it makes sense that if there’s a way to have stronger, healthier bones, we’ll do that. Luckily, there is! Strength workouts increase bone density to ensure your skeletal system is strong, especially as you age.

Research in 2017 concluded that strength workouts increase bone density by allowing the bones to adapt to the various stresses these workouts place on them, and your bones build to be stronger and healthier. Weight training puts your bones under loads, signaling that they must deposit more minerals and bone matrix to strengthen.

Plus, while your muscles get stronger, they can pull your bones more forcibly when contracting. This action also signals your body to lay down more minerals.

7. Improves Your Overall Health

Like all types of exercise, strength training benefits your general health and well-being. Studies have found that regular strength training improves circulation, reduces blood pressure, improves blood sugar control, and reduces cholesterol and triglycerides.

8. Boosts Your Mental Health

This one probably seems a bit odd, but many runners report that strength workouts make them feel confident, focused, and empowered, which boosts their self-esteem and reduces anxiety. They also said they felt more mentally and physically resilient and capable with the backing of resistance training.

Equipment You Need for Strength Workouts

Basic strength training equipment

Part of the reason many of us run is that we don’t want (or like) to go to the gym. This is the same reason many runners skip doing strength workouts. The good news is that you don’t need a gym or a whole setup with tons of paraphernalia to do an effective strength workout.

The better news is that you need relatively little to get started!

We aren’t saying you shouldn’t go to the gym if you have a membership and enjoy the environment. But if you’re already doing that, you likely aren’t reading this right now. If you want to create a little home workout space, we have the essential items below.

Equipment-Free Strength Training

First, we’ll start with the best equipment you could ever have – yourself. There’s no excuse to skip your resistance workout, especially when all you need is your body weight. You can do just about any exercise, but the best bodyweight exercises include:

  • Squats
  • Pushups
  • Jumping jacks
  • Burpees
  • Mountain climbers
  • Planks
  • Lunges

Later, we’ll talk more about the strength workouts you can do as a runner. But this gives you a basic idea.

Basic Equipment

If you don’t have a designated gym room to fill with workout equipment, you can get away with purchasing a few smaller items. These are the items to get:

  • Jump rope
  • Exercise mat
  • Resistance bands
  • Step box or bench
  • Gliding discs
  • Abdominal wheel

Jump ropes are cheap and easy to store, offering a quick, simple workout to build strength and power. You can use an exercise mat for anything from planks and pushups to pilates, yoga, and stretching.

Resistance bands are very versatile and come in many sizes, from light to heavy. We recommend getting at least 3 or 4 bands to change up your strength workouts. 

The humble step bench allows you to work your entire lower body and, if you’re creative, your core and upper body. Gliding discs and ab wheels are great for strengthening your core and glutes.

Recommended Extras

Once you’ve developed some experience with your home strength workouts, a few extra items will help take your training up a notch. These are our recommended extras:

  • Dumbbells
  • Plate weights and barbells
  • Medicine balls
  • Weighted vest
  • Kettlebells
  • Suspension trainer

Dumbbells, plate weights, and kettlebells also come in varying sizes (like resistance bands), from light to heavy. For runners, a few pairs of dumbbells in light and medium sizes will suffice. Alternatively, you can opt for adjustable dumbbells, which are pricier but save space and add convenience. A suspension trainer is great for building abdominal strength without using weights. 

Optional Extras

If you want to go whole hog on the home gym concept, it’s worth buying a few machines to allow for all-weather training. Here are our recommendations:

While we are talking to runners about strength training to become better runners, the first machine we would buy would be a rowing machine. It targets your lower and upper body simultaneously. Next, we’d prioritize a treadmill so bad weather or schedule issues (like staying late at work) won’t impact your workouts.

See more: Running on a treadmill vs running outdoors – which is better?

Creating Your Workout Space

So, you’re excited to rush out and grab all the home gym equipment you need to get your strength workouts underway, but before you do this, you need to figure out where you will be setting up your workout space. It can be anywhere in your home, from your living room or bedroom to your garage or basement.

The key to choosing your workout space is finding a space you want to go to. You should feel motivated and excited to visit your workout zone. If you’ve chosen your garage or basement, which often get too hot or cold, install heaters or an air conditioner to control the temperature. 

Paint the space a fun, bright, exciting color. You can add posters, pictures, or running-related decor to the space. If you’ve earned a few medals in your running journey, display them to remind you what you’re working towards.

Add a small cupboard or shelf to store exercise necessities like a towel, fan, and protein bars. The less you have to leave the space once you get there, the more likely you are to complete your workouts.

Home workout space inspiration
Pinterest is a great place to source home workout space ideas!

19 Best Strength Training Exercises for Runners

The strength training you do as a runner should be aimed at strengthening the muscles needed for running, which is a unilateral exercise. Unilateral exercises are those where your limbs move independently of each other. 

Knowing this, your strength training should focus on developing your core strength for better unilateral control. This doesn’t mean you should ignore full-body, compound exercises. Below, we have compiled a fairly exhaustive list of the best strength exercises you can do as a runner.

Before starting any exercise, remember to do a warm-up to reduce your risk of injuries and strains. All warm and toasty? Let’s go!

1. Squats

Benefits: Improves running stride efficiency and flexibility and decreases injury risk

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 15 reps each

Muscles: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, core


  • Place your feet hip-width apart
  • Point your toes forward
  • Hold your arms in front of you, grasping your hands together at shoulder-height
  • Lower yourself from your knees like you’re sitting on a chair
  • Ensure your knees don’t go forward past your toes
  • Keep your back straight by engaging your stomach
  • Slowly move back up to the standing position by pushing on your heels

Challenge: Rather than grasping your hands, hold a kettlebell or dumbbell.

2. Press-Ups

Benefits: Strengthens shoulders, arms, and chest; improves arm drive and posture

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 10 reps each

Muscles: Shoulder, pectoral muscles, triceps, core


  • Lie flat on the floor on your stomach
  • Place your hands on the floor beside your chest
  • Tuck your toes under your foot to contact the floor
  • Hold your core tight while pressing down into your hands
  • Lift yourself off the floor while keeping your body aligned
  • Before locking your arms, hold for a second, then slowly lower yourself back to the floor

Challenge: Wear a weight vest while doing the press-ups.

3. Step-Ups

Benefits: Improves running power, develops all the major leg muscles

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 10 reps per leg

Muscles: Calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes


  • Stand before a box or bench
  • Place one foot on the box, keeping your body aligned
  • Push up with your rear leg as you step up
  • Ensure the leg on the box remains over your ankle (don’t let your knee pass your toes)
  • Without touching the box, bring the trail leg up next to the box leg
  • Slowly lower your trail leg back to the floor

Challenge: Hold kettlebells, dumbbells, or a medicine ball, or wear a weight vest.

4. Dumbbell Row

Benefits: Strengthens the upper shoulders and upper back to balance chest muscles

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 12 reps per arm

Muscles: Trapezius, rhomboids, deltoids, lats, erector spinae


  • Place your right hand and knee on a box or bench
  • Your spine should be horizontal to the floor
  • Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and extend your arm toward the floor
  • Once your arm is almost straight (don’t lock the joint), pull the weight upwards
  • Keep your elbow tucked against your body
  • Slowly lower the weight back toward the floor

Challenge: Increase the weight as needed.

5. Burpees

Benefits: Strengthens and tones all major muscles

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 30 seconds each (8 – 10 reps)

Muscles: Shoulders, chest, biceps, core, glutes, hips, legs


  • Stand straight, with your toes pointing straight ahead and your feet hip-width apart
  • Bend your knees and move your hips backward, putting your hands on the floor in front of you, right in front of your feet
  • Jump or step back into the pushup plank position with straight arms
  • Gently drop to the ground until your hips and chest are flat on your floor
  • Bring your chest upward off the ground in a pushup motion back into the pushup plank
  • After your chest is off the floor, snap your hips and bring your feet back to your hands, right below the hips
  • Now, bring yourself upright
  • Bring your arms over your head and hop once

Challenge: Add an extra pushup before moving back into the upright position.

6. Front Lunges

Benefits: Strengthens lower body and core; improves balance

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 10 reps per leg

Muscles: Calves, glutes, hamstrings, quads, hips


  • Stand with your feet about 3 feet apart, with one in front of the other
  • Engage your core to hold your body upright
  • Place your hands on your hips and relax your shoulders
  • Bend at the knees and lower your back leg toward the ground
  • When the thigh of your front leg is parallel to the ground, push back up

Challenge: Hold kettlebells or dumbbells at your sides.

7. Reverse Lunges

Benefits: Builds lower body strength and single-leg stability

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 10 reps per leg

Muscles: Glutes, hamstrings, core


  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Engage your core to hold your body upright
  • Hold your hands in front of you at chest level and relax your shoulders
  • Take a step back (around 3 feet) with your left foot while placing the weight on your right foot
  • Bend at the knees and lower your back leg toward the ground
  • When the thigh of your front leg is parallel to the ground, push back up to the starting position

Challenge: Hold kettlebells or dumbbells at your sides.

8. Side Lunges

Benefits: Improve lower body balance and reduce injury risk

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 10 reps per leg

Muscles: Calves, hip flexors, adductors, glutes


  • Stand upright with your feet together and toes pointing forward
  • Engage your core to hold your body upright
  • Clasp your hands in front of your body at chest level
  • Extend your right leg out to the side around 3 feet
  • Land with your toes pointing forward and your knee bent while keeping your other leg straight and stretched
  • Push off your right foot and engage your glutes to return to the start position

Challenge: Hold kettlebells or dumbbells, or wear a weight vest.

9. Walking Lunges

Benefits: Increases stride length, improves stability, coordination, and single-leg balance

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 8 reps per leg (16 steps per set)

Muscles: Hips, core, calves, hamstrings, glutes, quads


  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Engage your core to hold your body upright
  • Hold your hands in front of you at chest level and relax your shoulders
  • Take a step forward (around 3 feet) with your left foot
  • Bend at the knees and lower your leg toward the ground
  • When the thigh of your front leg is parallel to the ground, push up and step forward with your back leg to the standing position

Challenge: Hold dumbbells at your sides or a medicine ball straight out in front of you.

10. Jump Squats

Benefits: Improve lower and upper body strength, increase explosive power

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 12 reps each

Muscles: Hamstrings, hips, quads, glutes


  • Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart
  • Point your toes straight ahead. Move your hips back and bend your knees
  • Your knees should be pressed out laterally (not caving in)
  • As you sit into the squat, bring your arms out in front of you
  • When your upper legs are as parallel to the ground as possible, squeeze your glutes and press them down to your heels
  • From the deepest part of the squat, swing your arms backward, then forward
  • The momentum created by moving your arms will pull you upright into a jump
  • As you land, move right into the next squat position with your arms in front of your body again

Challenge: Hold kettlebells, dumbbells, or a medicine ball, or wear a weight vest.

11. Glute Bridge

Benefits: Improves running efficiency, stability, and posture

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 15 reps each

Muscles: Hamstrings, quads, core, glutes


  • Lie flat on your back and place your arms by your sides
  • Place your feet flat on the floor with your knees about hip-width apart
  • Squeeze your glutes while lifting your hips upward
  • Keep your back straight and lift until your shoulders, hips, and knees form a straight line
  • Don’t lift your shoulders off the floor
  • Hold the bridge position for 2 seconds, then slowly lower yourself down

Challenge: Hold a kettlebell or medicine ball on your abdomen or outstretched above you.

12. Box Jumps

Benefits: Increase power, speed, and strength

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 10 reps each

Muscles: Calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes


  • Stand up straight.
  • Drop into a squatting position as you would if you were performing a squat jump, except now your arms will move behind you.
  • You’ll start coming out the bottom, but now your arms will be brought forward.
  • Squeeze your core and bring your knees to your chest just as your feet leave the floor.
  • Your feet will flex, and your legs will bend in front of you.
  • You’ll use this leverage to reach a higher area. 
  • Try sinking directly to the bottom part of a squat as you land.
  • Then, squeeze your glute muscles, press your heels down, and stand up straight.
  • Step to the floor slowly and carefully (once you get the hang of it, you can jump down).

Challenge: Hold kettlebells, dumbbells, or a medicine ball, or wear a weight vest.

13. Leg Raises

Benefits: Stabilizes the torso and knees, strengthens the hip flexors

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 10 reps each

Muscles: Calves, hip flexors, core


  • Lie flat on your back and place your arms by your sides
  • Place your feet together with your toes pointing upward
  • Holding your feet together, lift your legs while engaging your core
  • Raise your legs until they are at a 90° angle to the floor
  • Lower your legs slowly while keeping them straight until they’re 1 inch from the floor

Challenge: Alternate lifting each leg while holding the “resting” leg 1 inch from the floor.

14. Speed Skaters

Benefits: Improves stability, builds power and strength in the lower body

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 10 reps per leg

Muscles: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, hip flexors


  • Stand up straight with your feet together
  • Hold your hands in front of you at chest level and relax your shoulders
  • Engage your core as you step back and place your left leg behind your right
  • Your legs should be crossed at your thighs, with your left leg reaching as far to the side as possible
  • Hop to the left and place your right leg behind your left as above

Challenge: Hold a medicine before you instead of holding your hands.

15. Superman/Back Extension

Benefits: Improve running efficiency, strengthen the upper and middle back for stability

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 10 reps each

Muscles: Mid and lower back, glutes, core


  • Lie face down on the floor
  • Place your hands on the floor with your arms straight in front of you (like Superman)
  • Engage your core and lift your shoulders and chest off the floor
  • Keep your head down and look at the floor
  • Slowly lower your body back to the floor

Challenge: Hold a medicine ball in your hands and lift it as you lift your body.

16. Plank

Benefits: Develop core muscles to improve running form and reduce injury risk

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 30 – 45 seconds each

Muscles: Rhomboids, trapezius, core, hamstrings, erector spinae


  • Lie face down on the floor
  • Prop yourself up on your toes and forearms
  • Keep your elbows directly below your shoulders
  • Engage your core and glutes
  • Hold your body aligned while squeezing your core and glutes

Challenge: Start in a high plank (pushup position) and move to a low plank after 20 seconds.

17. Side Plank

Benefits: Improves balance, core strength, 

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 30 – 45 seconds on each side

Muscles: Shoulders, obliques, quads


  • Lay on the floor on your side
  • Place your feet with one on top of the other
  • Place your arm below your shoulder, engage your core, and press up
  • Keep your elbow in line with your shoulder
  • Ensure you hold your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet aligned
  • Hold for 30 – 45 seconds

Challenge: From side plank position, slowly lower your hip to the ground, then back up again.

18. Long Jumps

Benefits: Improve lower body strength, increase explosive power and coordination

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 10 reps each

Muscles: Glutes, hamstrings, erector spinae, core, hips, quads


  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Lower your body into a squat
  • Jump forward using your arms to propel you
  • Land in a squat position

Challenge: Hold kettlebells or dumbbells, or wear a weight vest.

19. Single-Leg Deadlift

Benefits: Increases running power, improves stability, strengthens legs, and reduces injury risk

Sets and Reps: 2 sets, 10 reps per side

Muscles: Hamstrings, glutes


  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in your left hand
  • Lift your right foot while holding your leg straight and extend it behind you
  • As you lift your leg behind you, bend your upper body forward from the hip
  • Keep your back straight while extending your left arm with the weight to the floor
  • Once your back is horizontal to the floor, engage your core and move back into the starting position

Challenge: Hold kettlebells or dumbbells, or wear a weight vest.

How Often Should You Do Strength Workouts

Ideally, runners should aim for 2 to 3 full-body strength workouts of 20 to 30 minutes each per week, targeting the different muscles in the body. Some runners find that doing shorter workouts more often works better for them. They aim to do 3 to 5 workouts of 10 to 15 minutes each per week.

If you are new to strength workouts and find this too much, start with one 15-minute session per week and build from there. The key is that something is better than nothing, so do what works best for you. Remember that strength sessions don’t have to be long either – aim for quality over quantity.

When to Do Strength Workouts as a Runner

Most trainers and coaches recommend doing your strength workouts on the same day as your easy runs. This way, you aren’t overstraining your body by doing your interval or long run as well as a strength session. Overworking your body like that can result in injuries and strains.

Strength workouts impact how your muscles feel while running, both straight after and in the days following. That’s why you should always run before your strength session – run in the morning and do weights in the afternoon, or do the run followed immediately by resistance training.

This ensures your legs won’t feel fatigued on the run.

6 Quick Tips for Strength Training

Strength training in the park

When you’re new to strength training, getting started can feel intimidating and overwhelming. To quell the anxiety beast, we have some quick tips to keep in mind, so your training sessions go swimmingly.

1. Hire a Personal Trainer

If you choose the gym route, you can easily hire one of the personal trainers at the facility. They can show you around the equipment, demonstrate the basic exercises, and ensure you maintain form and do the exercises correctly to avoid injury. If you are working out at home, you can always pay for a few training sessions to learn what you need to know, then implement it in your home gym.

Consider using a workout program that has a strength training program that spans at least 6 weeks or 12 workouts, so you have some guidance.

YouTube has numerous options, or you can use apps like Open Fit, Peloton Digital, or iFit.

2. Prioritize Your Form

Proper technique and form ensure you prevent injuries and strain but also makes the exercise effective. If you struggle to execute proper technique and maintain correct form, switch to lighter weights or reduce the number of reps.

3. Shake Up Your Routine

No one wants to live their lives like groundhog day, so changing your routine will keep your workouts interesting and exciting. Similarly to how you vary your running pace and routes, incorporate different resistance types and amounts while switching between the exercises.

Doing so will also allow you to get stronger faster as your body constantly works different muscles. 

Remember to increase the resistance and difficulty of the workouts as you get stronger. Your body only gets stronger by being challenged.

4. Don’t Under-Do It

We mentioned earlier that runners need to develop long, lean muscles rather than bulky, heavy muscles. While this is true, this doesn’t mean that you should have too little resistance. It’s all about balance. 

Running increases your muscular endurance, so you should focus on exercises that increase your power and strength in the primary areas. To do this, you need to have enough resistance to stimulate your muscles to gain strength.

Tip: Find a weight that allows you to do 10 to 12 reps while keeping good form and control. If you can reach 15 reps with ease, the load is too light.

5. Don’t Use Momentum

Unsurprisingly, for strength exercises to be effective, you need to engage your muscles. While it can be tempting to get into a rocking or swinging motion using the momentum of the weights, this defeats the point. 

Don’t take the easy way out – see momentum and the enemy of strength workouts and actively work against it. Do your movements slowly and deliberately. These will have the biggest benefit.

6. Liven Up Your Sessions

Look, we aren’t going to pretend strength workouts are super fun. You’re a runner, so doing anything but running is already an ask. Make your strength sessions fun and exciting so they pass quickly. 

Invite your running friends to join you during your workouts, or blast some upbeat music you can sing to. When your motivation wanes, remember that these workouts help you be a better runner with healthier, stronger, and more consistent runs.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Strength Training for Runners

Before we wrap up, we wanted to give you a quick crib-notes list of do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when strength training as a runner.


  • Follow a strength training program that’s effective for runners
  • Focus on your form, technique, and muscle activation
  • Use strength training in conjunction with running to improve performance and prevent injuries
  • Start slowly and build up over time, i.e., progressively overload
  • Consult with a personal trainer if you need guidance


  • Complete random, untargeted strength exercises
  • Overload too soon – progressive overload is the key
  • Schedule long runs and strength workouts on the same day
  • Push through pain or discomfort – this can result in injuries

Strength Training WILL Improve Your Running

If you ask any elite or professional runner what their training plan involves, they will all respond that they have at least 2 days of strength and conditioning per week. To be a better runner, you must build a better body, starting with strength training.

We hope this guide has helped steer you in the right direction and you’re excited to get started with your strength workouts!

Author Profile

Thalia Oosthuizen

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Thalia started running during the the pandemic as a way of getting out of the house. The running bug bit, and now much of her life revolves around everything to do with running - videos, podcasts, studies, books, articles, and interviews. She's also done several courses on running nutrition and mechanics to aid in her training and advising others.
Thalia Oosthuizen

Revel SPorts Contributor

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