5 Exercises to Get Better at Running

why should runners lift weights?

Lifting weights isn’t solely for the look. Both fitness beginners and seasoned athletes gain serious advantages from incorporating strength training into their running training. Whether it be a Sunday morning jog or your local marathon, incorporating strength training into a running programme is crucial to improve your times.

If you are already content with your running pace, then this blog still has some benefits for you. Strength training for running is not primarily for getting faster and looking buff. Bringing strength training into your program will help improve the muscles by offering a full range of motion, allowing you to build your muscular endurance and mobility, ultimately reducing your chance of injury. With so much potential injury risk stemming from running, it is more than worth taking the time to get your lift on in a planned programme.

Fortunately, academic studies have concluded that strength training can improve sprint running performance and prevent injury, as well as improve running economy and increase long distance times. With it being accepted theory that strength training can help improve your times, performance as well as prolong your running career through a decreased injury risk, it’s time to look at how this strength training should be done.

frequency of strength training

Although we are big advocates of strength training, this form of physical activity has to be added progressively to running training. To progress your running training, you will still need to run, often. Getting in long distance, interval training and relevant stretching will all integrate with your strength training to get you to the next level and improve your times. Our hypothesis when doing strength training to running is that a good ratio to keep in mind is 3 run sessions to 1 gym session. 


With so much evidence indicating that strength training can be exceptionally beneficial to your athletic performance and injury prevention – lifting weights is going to be vital to improving. It is important to ensure that if you are just starting out lifting weights, having a progressive strategy will allow you to increase in volume and ensure that your body can adapt and progress in both aspects.


Performing 2-3 sessions per week which consists of 2-5 different strength training exercises at 40-60% of your max intensity will be a great foundation to improve.


  • Prevent Injury
  • Joint Protection
  • Improved Running Economy
  • Improved Power
  • Solid Running Technique
  • Muscle Endurance

5 strength exercises for runners


Lunges are without a doubt one of the best exercises for targeting key muscle groups which are used when running. Doing lunges with either a pair of dumbbells, weighted vest, resistance bands or a barbell on your shoulder is one way to guarantee you can improve your running and prevent injuries.

Reps: 3-5 sets of 10 exercises at 30-50% of your maximum effort.



As one of the most fundamental exercises out there today, squats can build leg strength, power and muscular endurance which ties in directly with running performance. There are also a large variety of ways you can perform such squats. Beit with a slant board, barbells, dumbbells or a weighted vest, incorporating one of these pieces of equipment into your training will help you build foundations in your lower body to protect your muscles.

Reps: 3-5 sets at 60% of your max intensity.


3. Bulgarian Split Squats

A Bulgarian split squat is a version of a single leg squat where your back leg is elevated on a platform, allowing you to perform a single-leg, unilateral squat. The exercises puts an immense focus on your quadriceps, ensuring you stay balanced and coordinated as you lift to gain maximum benefit from the exercise. This exercise is exceptionally beneficial to runners as it strengthens your hamstrings and quadriceps muscles more than most exercises.


Reps: 3 Sets at 40-50% of your max intensity.



Deadlifts are a long established exercise for building leg muscles. These can be done with dumbbells, a barbell or resistance bands. Working your glutes, hamstrings and lower back, as well as many muscles in your upper body, performing deadlifts will translate exceptionally well into your running performance.

Reps: 3 Sets of 40-60% max intensity.



Calf raises are important exercises for building strength in your calves, as it is not so easy to isolate these muscles when training regularly. For this exercise, you will need to be seated on a chair or a bench, and choose a weight that is suited to your level of fitness.

Reps: 3 sets of 40-70% intensity.