Strength Training for Runners

Strength Training for Running

I’m really excited for today’s post!

As you may know, strength training for running is something I’m passionate about. And I’m passionate about it because I know how beneficial strength training is for everyone. Whether you’re a runner, a sedentary working adult, or active mom, working your muscles can only improve your life.

Jenna, a certified personal trainer and running enthusiast is going to tell us why runners need to strength train. She even provides a strength training program for runners, so that you can finish that half marathon strong.

She also takes pretty cool pictures of her green running shoes. You should totally take a look here.

Strength Training Program for Runners

Hi Fitzala readers, Jenna here from Little Green Running Shoes! Big thanks to Jenni for letting me share with you today. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a group exercise instructor, personal trainer, and runner. I love promoting a healthy lifestyle and finding new ways to be active.

Just over three years ago I started running and am currently in the final stages of training for my second half marathon. Over my running career I have made some hefty mistakes that led to injury, with the biggest mistake of depending solely on running to stay “fit”. Running is a fantastic way to stay active but our bodies need more to stay healthy.

Why is it important to combine strength training and running?

  • Prevent injury
  • Increase speed and endurance
  • Speed up recovery
  • Switch up the monotony and avoid plateaus

What is strength training?

A flexible and easily modifiable format that can be included under the group exercise, weight lifting, or body weight umbrella that involves the manipulation of number of sets, repetitions, and exercises with the overall goal of muscular hypertrophy (increase in size). Strength training will increase your muscle mass, strength, endurance, metabolism, and bone density.

How frequently should I do each and for how long? Can they be combined?

You know your body best so it’s up to you to know what you can or can’t do. Hiring a personal trainer is a great way to learn new workout methods under supervision to prevent injury but not all of us can hire a trainer or belong to a gym. Do your research and always consult your doctor before trying anything new.

For maximum results, try 2-3 strength training sessions per week on non consecutive days. You can combine strength and running in one day but pace yourself. Don’t plan to run 10 miles and have a heavy lifting session immediately afterwards. Running before you lift will ensure you are fully warmed up but can also mean your legs may be fatigued heading into your lifting.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine healthy adults should adhere to the following exercise guidelines:

Do moderately intense cardio 30-60 minutes a day, 5 days/week or vigorously intense cardio 20-60 minutes a day, 3days/week


Do 8-12 strength-training exercises, 8-12 repetitions of each exercise 2-3x/wk.

For healthy adults older than 65: Do 10-15 repetitions of each exercise 2-3x/wk


Sample workout weekly plan

Strength Training for Runners workout weekly plan

How do I complement a half marathon running program with strength training?

Training for any race can wreak havoc on your body. It is especially important to be cautious and pay attention to what your body is telling you. Don’t be afraid to take rest days and modify your schedule if you need to. Maintaining a regular schedule will help you keep track of your training and make workout planning easier.

Strength Training for Runners - Half Marathon Training Plan

Still try to strength train 2-3 days per week but put more emphasis on maintenance versus progression. Above is a sample half marathon training program with ample running, strength training for running, and rest time. Everyone is different so feel free to modify for your body!

Strength training doesn’t always happen in a weight room. All you need is your body and you can build plenty of strength and muscle. Here are simple bodyweight strength exercises that will help you run faster, get stronger, and prevent injury. Do each exercise for 8-12 repetitions and 3 full sets after a run.

Body weight squats

Running Strength Training - Body weight squats

Lateral lunges


Push-ups  Running Strength Training

Plank (go for time – start with a short amount of time and increase as you get stronger)

planks for running strength training