Strength Training For Runners | Sport at Cambridge skip to content

Sport at Cambridge


Strength Training For Runners

Strength Training For Runners

This blog follows the theme of my previous post titled “Training Whilst Under Quarantine: Quick And Effective Warm-Up For Your Daily Dose Of Outdoor Exercise”. In this blog post, I wanted to focus on how everyone can benefit from strength training, with particular detail on running. Below I talk about numerous reasons why strength training is beneficial for running, as well as providing a programme that can be performed at home, with no fitness equipment required. To ensure everyone can be included, there are 4 separate levels to be chosen from.  All of the programmes include a short video with demos of each exercise.


Benefits of strength training for runners:


Specifically, reduce likelihood of injury, increases training tolerance, stronger muscles will leave you less sore post-run.

Stronger muscles and tendons will be able to tolerate more load and absorb the majority of forces created from running, taking these stresses away from joint and bone structures…no more bad feet, back, and legs keeping you out of action for long periods of time!


Increased performance

Cultivating strength and power capabilities are directly associated with improved running performance parameters. These include:

- Increased running economy - This is energy utilisation (e.g. oxygen usage) at a given running speed. Improving this factor essentially allows you to expend less energy whilst running, therefore, resulting in a more efficient runner!

- Speed – Quite simply, you will be able to run faster due to greater forces being produced in every stride as you transfer from foot to foot. All of that is made possible by stronger muscles.

- Stronger core and hips result in a better held posture which in turn, creates a more efficient runner.

A runner’s potential can only go so far by accumulating miles week-by-week, If you are a runner and haven’t incorporated strength training yet, it is fair to assume you have a lot untapped potential!


Strength Training Recommendations: Using this programme I recommend starting with 2 sets of each exercise, following the specified repetition ranges. I would also recommend 2 sessions per week, ideally on non-running days.

Progressions: As well as progressing to a more challenging session, you can try these as natural progressions: Slower eccentrics, iso pauses, 3 working sets with squat and lunge exercises, 3 working sets for all exercises.

Warm up: For an optimal warm up routine, please visit my previous blog post ( Note, you don’t need to perform the “outdoor” warm up component when preparing for strength training

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me via email or socials (listed below).


Programme Format

Each phase is a separate training session. The exercises are ordered alphabetically, this format also shows exercises that should be performed individually (e.g. “B”), and those that are grouped together as a super-set (e.g. “C1”, “C2”). Standalone exercises should be performed on their own (for 2 working sets, as previously stated) with only a rest period in between them (60-90s). For exercises that are grouped together (e.g. “F1”, “F2”, “F3” in Phase I), you should complete 1 set of them all, back-to-back, before having a rest period. A number of exercises have repetition ranges (e.g. 8-12 EL), I would suggest starting with the lower ranges. Rather than doing more reps than the suggested range, try doing the same number of reps, with one of the aforementioned progressions.


Slider Exercises

The best way to perform the exercises named “slider”, is with either, sliders on carpet, or a towel on shiny floor (as shown in the video demonstrations).


EL = Each Leg

ES = Each Side


Phase I

A)Rev Lunge: 10-12 EL

B)Lateral Squat: 5-8 EL


C1) Side plank hold: 20-30s ES

C2) Single Leg RDL: 8-12 EL (balance assist if required)

D)Split Squat: 10-12 EL

E)2-L calf raise: 15-20


F1) Side lying Leg raise (hip abd): 8-10 EL

F2) Leg-only dead bug: 8-12 EL

F3) Single Leg hip thrust: 8-15 EL



Phase II

A)Slider rev lunge: 8-12 EL


B1) Lateral Squat: 8-10 EL

B2) Single Leg RDL: 8-12 EL (balance assist if required)

C)Bulgarian Split Squat: 10-12 EL

D)2-up 1-down calf raise: 8-10 EL


E1) Hamstring walk: 6-10

E2) Reverse Nordic: 6-10


F1) Side plank /w hip abduction: 8-12 ES

F2) Contralateral dead bug: 8-12 ES

F3) Glute march /w active knee extension: 8-12 EL



Phase III

A)Skater squat: 5-10 EL

B)Slider lat lunge: 6-10 EL

C) Sl calf raise: 10-15 EL (perform 2-up 1-down if required)


D1) side plank hip abduction: 10-15 ES

D2) Single Leg RDL: 8-12 EL

D3) Reverse Nordic: 6-10


E1) Slider leg curl:  8-12

E2) Side clam raise: 8-12 ES

E3) Contralateral dead bug: 8-12 ES


F1) Glute march /w active knee extension: 8-12 EL

F2) Glute bridge: 10-12



Phase IV

A)Pistol Squat: 5-8 EL

B)Slider reverse lunge + lateral lunge: 5-8 EL


C1) 2-L Calf Raise: 10

C2) SL Calf Raise 10-15 EL

C3) 2-L Calf Raise: 10


D1) Side plank /w hip flexion and hip abduction: 8-12 ES

D2) Single Leg RDL (march): 10-12 EL


E1) Copenhagen plank: 15-30s ES

E2) Slider leg curl: 10-15

E3) Straight leg contralateral dead bug: 8-12 ES


F1) Chinese Plank (face up): 15-30s

F2) Side lying straight leg raise: 8-10 EL

F3) Clam shell: 8-10 EL

F4) Glute bridge: 10-15



Joshua Gooden BSc (Hons), MSc

Fitness Coach

University of Cambridge Sport