Weight Training for Runners

Many people assume that running burns so many calories per minute or per mile that there’s not much room for weight training. But runners can benefit from weight training just as much as anyone else!

Weight training is an important part of building strength and overall muscle tone, two things every runner needs to be healthy, strong, and fast. Plus, incorporating weight training into your workout routine will help you build stamina and strengthen muscles throughout your body — not just the ones that are directly involved with running.

Thanks to its countless benefits for both your mind and body, weight training is one of the best ways to stay active as an adult and maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you’re ready to learn more about the benefits of weight training for runners, keep reading!

The benefits of weight training for runners

benefits of weight training for runners

Many runners believe that weight training will make them slow and bulky. However, this is not the case. In fact, weight training can help runners improve their speed, endurance, and overall performance.

So, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of weight training for runners.

Improved performance

Strength training improves running performance by increasing the overall strength of the body. This can also reduce the risk of injury, as running requires continuous movement. In addition, strength training can also increase endurance.

As long as you focus on strength training at a moderate intensity, you should be able to run longer and more quickly without feeling drained.

Running involves multiple joint actions and multiple muscles working to coordinate them all. Strength training enhances coordination, stability, and control. In addition, it improves push off and helps resist eccentric forces during heel strike . It also improves core stability and running posture.

In addition, weight training can help you improve your running form. By strengthening the muscles used in running, you can ensure that you are using them correctly and efficiently. This can help you run with better form and prevent injuries.

Overall, weight training is a great way to improve your running performance and reduce your risk of injuries. Incorporating it into your routine can help you run faster, longer, and with better form.

Reduced injuries

Strength training can help runners reduce the risks of injury. Strength training is crucial for athletes, especially distance runners, and can help runners prevent injuries and improve their performance. Adequate strength will help decrease the risk of injury and will prepare the muscles for the increased demands during the training cycle. However, many distance runners neglect this aspect of training.

Strength training can be done on rest days. Do not do strength training on the same day as a running workout because you won’t have enough recovery time. Weight training is most effective when performed consistently.

When performing strength training, the legs are put under a tremendous amount of stress. An athlete’s legs are put through nearly three times their body weight during running, and strength training improves muscle activation and recruitment. This helps prevent injuries while also helping the body recover faster on rest days.

Strength training also improves the condition of bones and tendons, two of the most common types of injuries for runners. The benefits of strength training extend beyond the prevention of injuries. Strength training is an ideal way to strengthen the muscles during off-season conditioning and prevent injury.

Researchers have found that runners who add weight training to their program suffer 29 percent fewer overuse injuries than those who don’t lift weights. In addition, the increased flexibility and range of motion provided by weight lifting can also help reduce the risk of injuries by allowing runners to move more freely and avoid tightness and stiffness.

Increased strength

Research shows that weight training can help runners increase their strength. For example, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that runners who performed weight-training exercises three times per week for eight weeks increased their leg strength by an average of seven percent.

improves running economy

Strength training improves running economy, which is a measure of how efficiently a person uses energy to run a certain distance. Studies have shown that runners who incorporate resistance training in their workouts improve their running economy by as much as two to eight percent. This allows them to run faster and longer at a constant speed while using less energy and oxygen.

The amount of strength training needed depends on each individual’s goals, injuries, and experience. Workout routines should be increased gradually and appropriately to avoid overtraining and injury.

In addition, runners should limit training for muscle hypertrophy, which can compromise running economy. Strength training exercises should be carefully designed and executed according to individual needs.

Increased speed

Weight training helps runners increase their speed by building stronger muscles. Stronger muscles are able to generate more power, which translates into faster running speeds.

In addition, weight training helps improve runners’ endurance by increasing their muscular endurance. Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle to maintain a certain level of performance during extended periods of time.

 By increasing their muscular endurance, runners are able to run for longer periods of time without tiring as quickly.

Improved form

Not only does weight training improve runners’ speed and endurance, but it can also help improve their form.

Poor running form can lead to injuries, but by strengthening the muscles used in running, weight training can help ensure that runners are using the proper form.

Moreover, the increased power and endurance provided by weight training can help runners overcome sticking points in their form that might otherwise cause them to break down and get injured.

The best exercises for runners

Weight Training for Runners: The Benefits and How To Get Started 1

As a runner, you may think that the best exercises for you are just running and perhaps some light stretching. However, some weight-training exercises can actually help improve your running. These exercises can help improve your form, increase your speed, and even help prevent injuries.


Squats are a great way to build strength and power for runners. Squats are effective because they allow you to perform a full range of motion and allow your hips to open fully. Performing a partial range of motion during a workout can limit joint flexibility and increase the risk of overuse injuries. Runners need a full range of motion to maintain a proper running speed and avoid injury.

Squats are a multi-joint exercise that will strengthen the hamstrings, hips, quadriceps, and glutes – the muscles that help runners power their strides. This will make your legs stronger and less susceptible to injuries. And stronger legs mean faster running. Squats also give you flexibility, which is essential for a strong running stride.

To do a basic squat:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands at your sides.
  2. Lower your butt toward the ground, keeping your knees behind your toes.
  3. Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, stand back up. 

If you want to make the exercise more challenging, you can hold a weight in front of your chest or place a barbell across your shoulders.


Lunges are multi-joint, functional exercises that target both the quads and the glutes. When done correctly, they also engage the core muscles and improve balance.

 For runners, this is an important exercise to add to any weight-training routine because it mimics the forward motion of running and can help improve your speed and power.

There are many different variations of lunges that you can do, but the basic lunge is performed by taking a large step forward with one leg and lowering your body down, so both knees are bent at approximately 90 degrees.

 Your front knee should not extend past your toes, and your back knee should not touch the ground. From this position, push off with your front leg to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Start with 10 repetitions on each leg and work up to three sets. As you get stronger, you can add dumbbells or barbells to increase the difficulty of the exercise.


Deadlifts are a type of weightlifting exercise in which you lift a weighted barbell from the ground to your hips, then lower it back down.

 This exercise works all the major muscles in your legs, including your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. It also works your core muscles, including your obliques, lower back, and erector spinae.

 Deadlifts are an excellent exercise for runners because they help to improve explosive power and running speed. They also increase muscular strength and endurance, which can help you to avoid injury.

Bench press

The bench press is one of the most popular exercises in the world, and it’s a great exercise for runners. The bench press works your chest, shoulders, and triceps, and it’s a great exercise for building strength and power.

If you’re new to the bench press, start with a light weight and focus on form. Lie on your back on a bench with your feet flat on the floor and your head and shoulders raised. Grip the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart. Lower the barbell to your chest, pause, and then press it back up to the starting position.

Bent over row

The bent-over row is a great multi-joint movement that works the muscles of the back, shoulders, and arms all at once. It’s a compound exercise, meaning it uses more than one joint and more than one muscle group.

The bent-over row is a great exercise for runners because it helps build strength in all the muscles used during running.

The back muscles, for example, are used to keep the body upright and help with balance. Strong back muscles can also help to prevent injuries.


Performing planks as a weight training exercise for runners can give you a total body workout while still being easy on your joints. The goal is to stay in a plank position as long as possible and to hold the position while engaging your abs.

Planks are great for building strong core muscles and improving running form. They also improve your posture and prevent injuries. Running with a stable core helps you maintain an upright posture, which helps prevent fatigue later in your run. Performing planks will also strengthen your back and core muscles, which will help you maintain good running form and avoid any injury during your runs.

Planks are a great strength training exercise for runners because they require less energy than other exercises. They also help you develop muscle endurance, which is crucial for runners. You can perform a variety of plank variations, including advanced and slow versions.

How to start weight training

Weight Training for Runners: The Benefits and How To Get Started 2

If you’re a runner who’s looking to improve your times, you may have considered adding weight training to your routine. Or maybe you’ve never thought about it at all. Weight training can help you run faster and longer, but it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the amount of weight you’re lifting. The next section will show you how to start weight training, even if you’ve never lifted a weight before.

Choose the right weight

Picking the right weight is key to starting your weight training on the right foot. You want to choose a weight that will be challenging but not so heavy that you can’t complete all the reps. It’s also important to make sure you have a proper form before adding weight. If you’re not sure, ask a certified personal trainer or coach for help.

Start with bodyweight exercises

Bodyweight exercises are a great way to start strength training because they require no equipment and minimal setup time. Plus, bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere, making them perfect for runners who want to strength train but don’t have access to a gym.

There are many different bodyweight exercises that runners can do to build strength. Some of the best exercises for runners include squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks. These exercises target the major muscle groups used in running, helping to improve running economy and prevent injuries.

For best results, runners should do strength training two to three times per week. If you’re just getting started with strength training, aim for one to two sets of eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise. As you get stronger, you can increase the number of sets and reps as well as the weight (if using dumbbells or other equipment).

Progress to free weights

Free weights are great for runners because they allow you to train all of the muscles in your body independently. This is important for runners because you use different muscles when you run uphill than when you run downhill. Free weights also allow you to train your stabilizer muscles, which are the small muscles that help keep your body upright and balanced.

Start with light weights and progress to heavier weights as you get stronger. For most exercises, 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions is a good goal. Exercises that work large muscle groups (such as the chest, back, and legs) can be done with more weight and fewer repetitions (6-8 reps), while exercises that work small muscle groups (such as the biceps, triceps, and shoulders) should be done with lighter weights and more repetitions (12-15 reps).

Once you have mastered the basic exercises with free weights, you can progress to using weight machines. Weight machines are great for runners because they allow you to focus on specific muscle groups without having to balance the weight yourself.

How to build a weight training routine

For any runner, whether you are just starting out or are a seasoned veteran, weight training is an essential part of your overall fitness routine.

Choose the right exercises

The first step to designing a weight training routine is to choose the right exercises. The best exercises are compound exercises that work for multiple muscle groups at the same time. These exercises include the squat, deadlift, overhead press, and bench press. 

Isolation exercises like the biceps curl and triceps extension are not as effective because they only work for one muscle group at a time. However, isolation exercises can be used to supplement compound exercises in order to increase the amount of work you are doing for a particular muscle group. 

For example, you might do 3 sets of 10 squats followed by 2 sets of 10 biceps curls. This would be a good way to work both your legs and your arms in the same workout.

Start with 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps

Start with 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps of each exercise, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets. This is enough volume to stimulate gains in muscle size and strength without overdoing it. Once you have a good feel for the exercise and are able to perform it with good form, you can increase the weight and/or reps.

Add weight and sets as you get stronger

Start with just the bar if you can’t do a lot of weight, and work up from there. As you get stronger, gradually add more weight and more sets. Build up to 3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise.

If you’re just starting out, you may not be able to do everything listed here. Do what you can and add more as you get stronger. Focus on form over speed or quantity.

Warm up with 5-10 minutes of easy cardio before you start lifting weights. This will help get your blood flowing and reduce your risk of injury.


The bottom line is that weight training can be beneficial for runners, but it’s important to focus on exercises that will improve running economy and not just add bulk. Adding too much muscle mass can actually make you slower.

 As with any type of training, it’s important to listen to your body and not overdo it. Start slowly and gradually increase the volume and intensity of your workouts. And as always, consult with a qualified coach or medical professional before starting any new training program.

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