Your expert guide: Strength training for marathon runners
Lift your way to faster running times.
With early bird entries now open for next year's Edinburgh Marathon Festival (EMF), it's time to start thinking about how to maximise your running potential.
Of course, the best way to get better at running is to run, but most runners often overlook the importance of strength training. Strength training can add an array of benefits that will help to improve your running times, and who doesn’t want to run faster?
Strength training is going to help limit your chances of injury, and will also leave you feeling stronger and more efficient with your running technique. If you can make time to incorporate strength workouts into your training schedule, you’ll soon be reaping the rewards.
I have teamed up with the official strawberry supplier of EMF, AVA berries, to provide you with seven strength exercises to add to your training schedule.
Perform each exercise for 3 rounds, resting for 1-2 minutes between those rounds.
Squat – 10 reps
Start with your feet shoulder width apart
Lead with your bum going backwards
Lower yourself down until your upper leg is parallel to the ground
Then push yourself up and return to start position
Reverse Lunges – 10 reps on each leg
Keep your back straight throughout the entire exercise
Take a big step backwards
Then lower yourself down until you reach a 90 degree angle in your front knee
Pushing through your front foot, bring yourself back up to the start position
Step ups – 15 reps on each leg
Place one foot on the bench and lean slightly forward
Pushing through your raised foot, push yourself up until your raised leg is standing up straight
Gently lower yourself back down and return to the start position
Bodyweight hip thrust – 20 reps
Laying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor
Bracing your core, push your hips up to the ceiling
Focus on squeezing your bum at the top of the exercise.
Hold there for 1 second before returning to the start position.
Leg extensions – 12 reps
Set the foot pad so that it is resting on the front of your ankle
Grip the handles on both sides
Push the pad up until your leg is straight
Hold at the top of the movement for 1 second before slowly lowering your legs back to the start position
Russian twists – 30 reps
Start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor
Keep your back straight and refrain from hunching your shoulders
Hold the weight in both hands, then lean back slightly whilst bracing your core and raise your feet off the ground
Keeping your core tight, twist your upper body reaching your arms from side to side in a controlled movement
Plank – 30 second holds
Get into the press up position, but this time rest on your forearms instead of your hands
Look straight down at the floor so that you don’t strain your neck
Squeeze your bum and your abs to keep your back in a straight position
Hold this neutral position for the set time