Strength Training for Distance Runners

POSTED BY : Holly Martin

Believe it or not…running isn’t everything when it comes to being a runner! Strength training builds proper running form and proper running form builds efficiency! Here are our favorites on strength training for distance runners!

Exercise #1 : The Squat!

Strength Training for Distance Runners Exercise 1

Strength training for distance runners begins with finding mobility in the hips, knees and ankles.

The squat helps us find our limitations in range of motion in these areas.

When done in succession for a set amount of reps or as a posture reset exercise mid-run, it directly improves our leg strength and explosiveness of the hips.

Things to think about as you squat:

Strength Training for Distance Runners - Bottom of the Squat

  • At the top: Shoulders, knees and ankles are stacked on top of each other.
  • As you lower: Knees press out, hips sit back, back stays board straight as you hinge ONLY at the hips.
  • At the bottom: Knees stay pressed out, toes face straight ahead, back & chest stay as upright as possible.

Exercise #2 : The Single-Leg Balance to Lunge

Strength Training for Distance Runners Exercise 2

A HUGE part of strength training for distance runners is fine-tuning your stability!

This exercise improves hamstring & glute strength, core control and improves the range of motion in your hips.

Combined, these benefits make your best run stride accessible at any level of fatigue!

Start with the Single-Leg Balance: 

Strength Training for Distance Runners Single Leg Balance

  • Stand on one leg with other leg bent and foot a few inches off the ground
  • Notice if you’re sinking into your standing hip
  • Keep hips in straight alignment, parallel to the ground by engaging your standing glute
  • The fun part: challenge your proprioception! Take your gaze in various directions…perhaps finishing by closing your eyes & seeing if you can maintain your balance.

Now let’s combine the Single-Leg Balance with a Lunge:

Strength Training for Distance Runners Lunge Position

  • Start standing on one leg and swing the other leg back to find the lunge position
  • Lightly kiss the ground with your knee, do not slam!
  • From lunge position, swing leg back up to find the single-leg stance
  • Repeat this 7-10 times per side

*Have you noticed?! None of this strength training for distance runners has required a gym or equipment!

Exercise #3: Jumping Lunges!

Strength Training for Distance Runners Exercise 3

Our final exercise serves the “big picture” purpose of strength training for distance runners… improving your power output.

Start by standing on two feet, shoulders over hips, hips over knees, knees over ankles.

Now step back with one leg to find the same lunge position you practiced in exercise #2.

Lightly kiss the ground with back knee and return to standing.

Switch legs.

After a few reps of this, replace the step back to two feet with an explosive jump (press through the heel of your front lunge leg).

Use the jump to switch from one lunge to the other. Find your balance in new lunge position before jumping again to switch sides.

As balance improves, increase speed and repeat for 16-20 total repetitions.

Jumping lunges are perfect for finding the explosiveness in your hips that’s responsible for keeping your stride clean, active and most efficient in your running.

Now That You Know What To Do…Here’s Your First Workout!

Alternate between exercises 1, 2 & 3 for 15 intervals.

Start with #1 (squats). Work for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds.

Switch to #2 for next interval.

Switch to #3 for next interval.

Repeat until 15 rounds have been completed, each exercise done 5 times!

Strength training for distance runners begins with understanding its purpose and the benefits it creates for your running! Use these exercises to get STRONG and run more EFFICIENTLY!

Looking for more ideas on strength training for distance runners? Check out our Strength Playlist on YouTube!

Also be sure to download your 2 WEEK FREE STRENGTH TRAINING to meet the TRE coaches and awesome online running community!

GET AFTER IT.