Bodyweight strength training for runners

Strength training for runners…you know you should do it but you’d rather go for a run. You’ll do it when you get back…if there’s time…

So strength training becomes a “maybe”.

But what if there was an easier way to slip it in to your current program without affecting your running sessions? What if it was easy to do at home, without even needing equipment?

No more excuses, right?

Well, here it is! A home-based, equipment-free program specifically for distance runners. It’ll take just 10-15 minutes, twice a week and it won’t leave your legs sore for the next run.

Strength training goals

Obviously a strength program is to build strength. But running isn’t just about strength.

A well-rounded program should also improve stability, mobility and connective tissue quality. They’re the key building blocks of good performance and injury resilience.

Improving strength is achieved by training to fatigue. That doesn’t mean training to exhaustion – it’s about training to the first signs of loss of form or loss of movement speed.

Stability improvements will come from focusing on good technique.

Mobility isn’t the same as stretching or increasing range. Mobility is about good quality movement through range. And connective tissue quality is a two-fold goal.

Loading tendons makes them stronger, and performing faster movements improves tendon bounce for more efficient movement.

Setting dosage and frequency

As a runner, strength is great but tired legs aren’t. Too little loading and you don’t get all the benefits. Too much loading and you’ll compromise your running sessions.

So here’s our guide to getting your strength training dosage right.

  1. Sessions per week
    • During higher running volumes, aim for 1-2 sessions per week
    • During lower running volumes, 2-3 sessions per week works best
    • If you’re not running (eg. injured), you can train 3-5 sessions per week
  2. Repetitions per set
    • It’ll be different for each exercise so don’t aim for a random number (just count to 10, right?)
    • Perform repetitions until you can’t maintain good technique or consistent speed of movement
  3. Number of sets
    • As a guide, a more experienced strength trainer should perform more sets
    • Experienced trainers can perform up to 6 sets per exercise
    • Novice (or time-limited) trainers can perform 3 sets per exercise

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