Effective Training Routine of a Distance Runner

If we look at the training routine of a distance runner, we see many races on the program. While races vary in distance and speed, strength training is often neglected or skipped altogether. Continually skipping strength training can negatively affect your running performance.

Running is a monotonous load that you can compensate with strength exercises. A strong musculature relieves the load on the bones, ligaments and joints while running, reduces fatigue, ensures a clean running style and lowers the risk of injury. Additionally, strength training trains your nervous system to control your muscles efficiently. As a result, you can better harness the power of your muscles and run faster. According to a Norwegian study, some long-distance runners improved their running economy by 5%, meaning they ran more efficiently without wasting energy, after 8 weeks of strength training as a supplement to their running training.

As a runner, which muscles should you train more intensely? Basically, we recommend basic exercises that train as many muscle groups as possible at the same time. In particular, you should train your core and gluteal muscles, as well as your abductors. A strong core stabilizes the upper body and hips when running. The gluteus maximus is primarily responsible for hip extension and dynamics. Only an extended hip and a powerful drive allow you to run at a good pace and with a clean running style. The abductors stabilize the axis of the legs while running.

The warm-up

Take 10 minutes to prepare your body for exercise. You can start by doing shoulder rolls and doing some jumping jacks. Follow with squats and lunges with your own body weight.

The training

Our runner training trains your whole body. You will need two dumbbells and you will need to adjust the weight depending on the exercise. The exact weight you should choose depends on your level of preparation. The last repetitions should cost you more to do, without neglecting the cleanliness of the technique.

The workout consists of 5 exercises. Complete 3 sets of each exercise. Rest 90 seconds between sets. For the last exercise you don’t need weights and you only rest for 30 seconds.

Exercise repetitions PauseSeries
One arm rowing8-10 per side90s3
Romanian deadlift8-1090s3
One arm shoulder press10 per side90s3
Plank with toe taps10 per side30s3

The exercises

1. Squat

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. The tops of your feet point slightly outward, and you hold a dumbbell in each hand. The weights rest on the collarbone. Keep your upper body upright and make sure your back remains neutral. Lower your hips between your thighs and spread your knees out. Come back up by pushing through your heel until you come to an upright posture.

Muscles: quadriceps, leg biceps, glutes, core.

Note: Do you want to improve the depth of your squats? Place disc weights under your heels. This changes the angle and allows you to push your knees further forward and lower your hips.

2. One arm rowing

Hold a heavy dumbbell in your right hand and take a big step back with your right leg. Lean your upper body forward and rest your left elbow on your left thigh. Let the right arm hang down. Pull the dumbbell up by moving your elbow back and keeping it close to your body until your elbow forms a right angle. Return to the starting position by lowering your arm in a controlled manner.

Muscles: back, biceps, forearms.

Note: Keep your arm slightly bent even in the lowest position.

3. Romanian deadlift

Stand with your feet slightly shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Let your arms hang loosely in front of your thighs, with your palms facing you and your wrists straight. Keeping the dumbbells close to your body, push your hips back and lean forward from your hips with a straight back. Lower the dumbbells to just below your kneecaps. Then reverse the movement by extending your hips and knees and straightening your torso.

Muscles: glutes, leg biceps, back extensors.

Note: Keep your head in a neutral position.

4. One arm shoulder press

Hold a medium dumbbell in your right hand and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Raise the dumbbell to ear height and rotate your forearm out. Keep your wrist straight. Press the dumbbell up and bring it over your head. Hold the position for a second and lower back down to the starting position. Complete all reps with your right arm, then switch sides.

Muscles: shoulders, triceps

Note: Squeeze your shoulder blades behind you during the press and keep your shoulders down.

5. Plank with toe taps

Start in elbow support position. With your forearms on the ground and your shoulders above your elbows, your body forms a straight line. While tensing your core muscles, move your right foot to the side and tap your foot on the ground. Come back to the center. Repeat on the left side. Continue doing it alternately.

Muscles: Core

Note: Keep your hips parallel to the ground and your shoulders above your elbows.

Done? Good work! It’s time to cool down. Learn how to chill properly here.

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