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Strength Training for Runners

athletics endurance fitness fitness journey injury prevention performance running strength training trail running training tips Jun 07, 2023

Strength Training for Runners:

When it comes to running, the impact on your body is immense, as you repeatedly hit the ground hundreds or even thousands of times during a run. That's why building the necessary strength to cope with this impact is crucial. For my athletes, and indeed for runners in general, I place a strong emphasis on single leg strength. It's a fundamental focus that extends to various sports. Developing well-rounded fitness and strength is vital, even for the seemingly straightforward act of running.


My Strength Training Regimen:

As a coach and a new dad, my strength training regimen has evolved to accommodate my changing lifestyle. Currently, I aim to strike a balance between my running and strength training by dedicating at least two days a week to strength building. Of course, this frequency may vary depending on factors like race schedules and training phases. As I approach a race, I adjust my training to reduce the strength training volume and prioritize more running.


The Base Building Phase:

Let's dive into the ideal structure for a six-month training program, specifically tailored for a race like the upcoming ultra or beast. In this scenario, I recommend allocating two to three months to focus on strength building. Then, as the client progresses, we gradually introduce more running, carefully phasing out some strength training. It's essential to address individual weaknesses and cater to specific skill requirements.


Prioritizing Strength Training:

When it comes to strength training exercises, there are various options to consider. Some prefer lifting with a barbell, while others opt for kettlebell training or machine exercises. Personally, I believe in selecting exercises that engage the entire body in a comprehensive workout. That's why I lean towards kettlebell training and calisthenics. They promote grip strength, balance, and proprioception, all while challenging the body through unilateral movements.


Sustainability and Strength Training:

In the running community, there's sometimes an inclination to dismiss strength training and rely solely on running. However, I firmly believe in sustainability and the long-term benefits of incorporating strength training. By balancing running with targeted strength training, you can maintain a strong foundation and have more options in your athletic pursuits. This approach ensures you're not solely dependent on running itself to build your strength and endurance.


The Role of Core-Specific Training:

Core training is a topic that often generates debate among runners. Many associate core-specific exercises like planks, crunches, and sit-ups with achieving a flat and strong stomach. While core strength is essential, functional movements in various exercises already engage the core effectively. Isometric exercises like planks and dynamic movements such as bear crawls are particularly effective in improving core endurance, stability, and posture, all of which contribute to better running form.



By incorporating strength training into your running routine, you can elevate your performance and reduce the risk of injuries. Coach Noah's insights highlight the importance of building strength, prioritizing specific exercises, and incorporating core-specific training. Embrace a balanced approach that complements your running with strength training, and you'll discover a new level of endurance, efficiency, and overall athletic capability. Remember, strengthening your run begins with building a solid foundation of strength!


Over the summer we will be on the Orange County Trails helping build better runners.  If you’d like to join us for our Orange County Trail running MasterClass click here to learn more.



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