Strength training should be an essential component of training for a marathon runner.
With a few exercises you can build strength in the areas it’s most needed to help combat muscles imbalances, reduce the risk of injury and hopefully help you run that bit faster,
When you are already running seven or more times a week, it can be difficult to find the time for strength training. However, with just a few simple exercises that target the muscles primarily used in running and the supporting muscles, strength training won’t take long.
The five exercises below can be performed as a circuit at home or anywhere you have space.
One legged hip raises
This exercise helps strengthens the gluteus medius muscle around your hips to increase your lateral stability, preventing hip injuries from the constant pounding of the road.
Main benefit: Strengthen glutes, abdominal muscles and lower back.
- Lie face up with one knee bent, your legs together and one foot flat on the floor.
- Raise your straight leg a few inches off the ground.
- Push up off your foot, raising your hips into the air. Hold for a few seconds.
- Lower your hips to the starting position, keeping your straight leg raised a few inches off the ground.
Repeat 10-15 times on either side.
Knee tucks with an exercise ball
This exercise directly engages the muscles used when you run, which will help give you a burst of extra power with each stride.
Main benefit: Strength’s hip and abdominal muscles.
- Get into plank position, facing downward with your palms resting flat on the floor.
- Staying in a rigid line, place your feet firmly on the top of a stability ball.
- Keeping your upper body steady, bend your knees and roll the ball toward your upper body.
- Extend your legs again.
Repeat 10-15 times.
Deadlift and front raise
This exercise is a great all-in-one exercise that engages your lower back, hips, shoulders and upper back.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Arch your back and bend your knees slightly. Bend forward at the hips, keeping your back arched.
- Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell in your hands (choose a weight that can repeat ten reps or with).
- Raise the weight over your head, toward the ceiling in one smooth movement.
- Hold the weight for a moment above your head, and let it swing down to the starting position.
Repeat 10-15 times.
When performed correctly, lunges strengthen the muscle along the outside of your hip, called the gluteus medius.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your hands on your hips.
- Step out to the right with your right foot and shift your body weight over the right leg.
- Squat down until your knee makes a 90-degree angle. Keep your back straight.
- Bring your right leg back to the centre and repeat on left side.
Repeat 10-15 times on each side.
Strengthening your core with this exercise will stabilise your body and keep your body upright as you run.
Main benefit: Primarily strengthens the obliques and transverse abdominal muscle, and secondly other muscles in your abdomen.
- Hold the dumbbell with both hands and let it hang between your legs.
- Keep your back straight and your head up.
- Straighten up to a standing position, pulling the dumbbell up over your head.
- Use the dumbbell’s momentum to return to the starting position.
Repeat 10-20 times.