Strength Exercises for Runners: Prevent Injuries and Run Faster

Many runners spend hours—and even days—planning their training for an important race. Meticulous attention to detail is given to long runs, track workouts, recovery days and tempo runs. These are all critically important. But how many of us spend time planning our strength workouts?

Surprisingly, the answer is virtually none. Most runners don't do any strength or core workouts, and this is a big reason the vast majority of them get injured every year.

Strength exercises are a perfect complement to running. In fact, they enable good training because they keep you healthy and performing your best.

More: 3 Ways to Build an Injury-Proof Foundation for Running

Aerobic vs. Structural Fitness

When most of us think about how to run fast, we think about the training that boosts our aerobic fitness, or the ability to run faster for longer. This includes workouts like long runs, tempo workouts and high mileage.

The flip side of that coin is the ability for us to withstand those fast workouts and week after week of mileage. Hard training is difficult! Is your body up to the challenge?

That's where strength workouts can help you stay healthy and run more consistently—they build your structural fitness, which is your body's ability to withstand the rigor of miles of impact forces from running. Your muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons need to be strong to handle that stress level.

"Fitness" means a lot of things. It's a mistake only to plan your aerobic fitness because, without structural integrity, you'll almost always encounter a debilitating injury.

More: Strength Train to Improve Running Economy

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About the Author

Jason Fitzgerald

Jason Fitzgerald is a USATF-certified running coach, 2:39 marathoner, and the founder of Strength Running. Have a question about running? Download the free Strength Running PR Guide to get 35+ answers to the most commonly asked questions about running.

Jason Fitzgerald is a USATF-certified running coach, 2:39 marathoner, and the founder of Strength Running. Have a question about running? Download the free Strength Running PR Guide to get 35+ answers to the most commonly asked questions about running.

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