It’s easy for runners to slack off on strength training, especially in the middle of a training cycle for a big goal event. I get it, life’s busy and you only have so much time to work out, so if you’re a runner, you want to run, right?
Don’t forget, though, that strength training doesn’t need to be an all-out effort in the gym for an hour for it to be an effective part of your fitness routine. If you have 15 minutes to spare, get this done so you can enjoy the benefits of strength training for runners! You can even incorporate this workout into your next easy or recovery run – do a quick warm up, then this 15 minute strength workout, then back to your run.
15 Minute Strength Workout for Runners
Workout type: Bodyweight circuit
Sets and reps: 2 sets of 15 reps each. Do 1 set of each exercise, with no break in between, then repeat!
Time: 15 Minutes
As always, remember that while I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Use your own knowledge of your ability and talk to your doctor or a fitness professional before beginning an exercise program. See my disclaimer here.
Lunges with a twist
This exercise is great for runners – you’re working the glutes, hamstrings and calves with the lunges, while also working on rotation and stabilization in your midsection. Our abs keep us upright and strong during running, so it’s important to keep them strong! Lunge forward and twist from the hips to the outside of your lunging leg, using your arms to create the momentum of the twist. Try to keep your shoulder blades squeezed back, your head up and turning with your spine in the direction of the twist. You can do these either as walking lunges, or as forward lunges in place.
Running is a plyometric exercise, so it makes sense to add some plyo moves to your strength training, like squat jumps or box jumps. For this move, get down into a squat with your hands clasped in front, then jump as high as you can spring. (You want to get your knees up higher than the photo below indicates, though…it’s hard to time these photos! 😉 ) Try to land lightly on your forefoot.
I never know whether to say Spidermans or Spidermen for this exercise. It plagues me. In any event, I love this move for runners – it gives you abdominal stabilization in the plank position and some lovely mobility for the hips. Get into a hand plank, shoulders directly over your wrists, then step one foot out and up to your hand (or as close as you can get). Step back to plank, then repeat with the other leg.
Single Leg Deadlift
My clients know this move as ‘Bird Dips’ because it reminds me of the little toy bird you clip onto the side of a glass to dip its beak in repeatedly. This is a gorgeous hip hinge movement which benefits runners because you’re working on your balance, on using one leg at a time and building strength through your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. From a standing position, extend one straight leg behind you as you reach forward with your arms until your body is parallel to the ground. Come back to stand tall and complete a set on one side before moving on to the other leg.
Since running is a whole lot of lower body effort, it’s a good idea to add some upper body exercises into your strength training. Classic push ups can be done anywhere and are easily modified – try them elevated with hands on a bench, or from your knees if the toes position is too difficult for you. Keep a strong plank foundation while you lower to the ground, then return to the hand plank start.
It’s just not a Carly workout without a plank thrown in. Do this after your push ups so your arms are fatigued and see if you can still hold a hand plank for a minute, just for fun! Remember, keep your glutes and quads strong and engaged, as well as contracting your abdominals.
And yes, that is the spectacular Lake Champlain as my backdrop. I have to say, I do miss Prospect Park for running, but a water view like this one definitely goes a long way to making up for the loss of my old stomping (running) ground. There’s just something about being by water, you know?
Do you every break up your runs with a quick strength workout?
What’s your current favorite place to run?