MAR 03, 2021

A no-bullshit guide to strength training for runners.

by Lillie Bleasdale

We know why we should train for strength: injury prevention, run faster, coordination improvements; but how can we access these improvements when you can’t access a gym?

Keep it compound.

When we talk about compound exercises, we’re talking about exercises that hit multiple muscle groups at the same time. Running doesn’t activate only the muscles in the thighs; so why should your strength exercises do the same? Think squats, lunges, and deadlifts - these are going to fire up all the large muscle groups in the legs enabling them to produce the greatest amount of power for your stride. Calf raises have their place, but think of them as the perfect accessory for those more complex exercises. 

Keep it basic, and aim for two sessions per week.

Not that fussed about rippling abs? Don’t worry, that’s not what we’re after. The core’s actual job is to keep us upright and help our upper body talk to our lower limbs. Remember: there’s only one foot on the floor at a time when it comes to running. Hip and knee stability are the key to good form; and are impossible without a strong and balanced core. 

Let’s get fast. 

You’ve got the basics down, now it’s time to go dynamic and build that power. Looking to get fast as fuck? This is where you’ll do it. Add explosive movements into your sessions; skipping, bounding, box jumps, squat jumps. Lower the reps down to 3-5 at a time, focus on exploding with as much power as possible, and reap those rewards come race day.

Aim to rest for 45 seconds between each round and drive just as much on that final set as you did on the first.

Take it slow

It’s important to preserve the pleasure when it comes to that muscular burn too - it’s called ‘time under tension’, and it’s an essential part of your reps. Slow down the speed of your exercises and you’ll go a long way in replicating the countless advantages which come with lifting heavy weights in the gym. Try counting down from three to one as you lower into that lunge. Keep it controlled, and use the extra time to think about form: chest proud, shoulders back and down, knees at a 90 degree angle. 

Keep your number of repetitions around 10-12: no more, and take 60-90 seconds rest between sets - recovery is king and is a key part of your strength training. 

Keep it balanced

Single leg, unstable surface, anything that will challenge that control and help improve our balance. This is where we complicate things and also start to improve that core strength. 

Let us give you a helping hand

Run, strength, stretch, breathe, cook, eat, sleep... we know, it’s a lot.

If you’re looking for a boost to get you started, then you’ve come to the right place.

Later this week, we’ll be launching our new IRC Studio, with everything from strength workouts, to warm-ups, yoga and breathwork; we’re here to help you every step of the way and keep you feeling good all the way through to race day.

Learn more about Lillie and PASSA at | @lilliesfitness / @trainpassa