Strength Training For Distance Runners

At Rock Solid we get a ton of runners who come in to work with our personal trainers. Some of them are looking to improve their 5k time, others have aches and pains and hear we are the best place to help get rid of them. Runners are some of our favorite athletes to work with as they are not scared to push themselves and understand that hard work is what elicits improvement in your body and your performance. There are tons of reasons why runners should be strength training, but there are two main ones:

The most important benefit of strength training for a runner is the decreased chance of injury. In a sport where overuse injuries are so prevalent, stronger muscles, tendons and ligaments are of the utmost importance to keep you healthy and able to run. The second benefit of strength training is increased performance. Both top speed and endurance can be increased through lifting weights. Speed can be increased because of the muscles’ increased force output, and endurance can be increased through better running economy. A stronger muscle has to use less energy to propel a runner across the ground than a weaker muscle, and stronger muscles can help you hold good posture, even when you’re tired.

So what should a distance runner’s strength training program look like? You should train the muscles in their legs, upper body and midsection one to two thirty minute training sessions per week. A workout program for a distance runner at Rock Solid would look something like this:

Workout 1:

Leg Press

Hip Adduction

Calf Raise

Chest Press

Mid Row

Low Back Extension

Abdominal Crunch

Workout 2:

Leg Extension

Leg Curl

Hip Abduction


Shoulder Press

Pulldown or Chin Up

Rotary Torso

These two workouts cover nearly all the muscles in the body, including the major muscles in your upper and lower legs, hips, midsection and upper body. The exercises should be performed in a slow and controlled fashion, and to muscular failure for the safest, most efficient and most effective results.

Now there are two very common objections for runners: one is a mythconception, and the other is just being misinformed.

First, the mythconception: “I don’t want to lift because I don’t want to get big and bulky; it will slow me down.” This is not true! Fat is what makes you big and bulky, and as we established earlier, muscle will actually help you run faster!

The second most common objection is this: “There’s no time to lift between all of the running that I’m doing.” This is a poor excuse. It is similar to the person not saving money because they can’t afford to. In reality, they can’t afford not to! Go back to benefit #1: increased resistance to injury. Injuries are so common in runners and weight lifting is the best way to help prevent those injuries.

Start a strength training program today and if you need help, come on by to Rock Solid Fitness and let us help you get started. We always offer Free Introductory Workouts for you to experience how we are different, and we love educating people about strength training. Give us a call at 727-282-1800, or shoot us an email to make an appointment.


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