By Mariana Alvarez, Communications Coordinator

It’s no secret that aerobic activities like running have many benefits. These benefits can range from cardiovascular health to respiratory health, among others. However, by solely engaging in one form of physical activity, a person places a limit on the possible health benefits. Mixing strength training sessions into a runner’s routine is an excellent way to prevent injury and improve overall fitness. 

Strength training is a great way to improve blood glucose levels, blood pressure, bone strength, body composition, overall movement, joint stability, muscular strength, endurance, and power. It also helps to decrease the risk of chronic disease, falls, and injury. Everyone, including runners, would benefit from incorporating strength training into their workout routine. 

It is recommended that beginners do strength training beginning with one to two low-stress sessions a week, then increase the frequency and intensity accordingly. When it comes to exercise selection, sport-specific movements should be utilized. The training program should work to promote specific adaptations by applying intentional stressors on the body. In this case, the movements should strengthen the primary and assistance muscles related to running. 

Plyometrics is another excellent type of movement runners should consider incorporating into their routine. These are potent movements in which the muscles produce maximal force in a concise amount of time. Some examples of lower-body plyometrics drills include, but are not limited to ankle hops, squat jumps, single-leg and double-leg hurdle hops, skips, box jumps, and depth jumps.


Sample Strength Workout


Before strength training sessions, it is essential to get a good warm-up. First, 5-10 minutes of biking or jogging are great ways to increase the heart rate. Next would be some mobility exercises and dynamic stretches. These exercises can include but are certainly not limited to cat camels, the world’s greatest stretch, inchworms, lateral lunges, and plank variations. These dynamic stretches allow the body to move through a full range of motion. Check out this blog on the RAMP warm-up for more information on how to create a proper warm-up!

Sample Full Body Workout:

Goal: Work on Improving Muscular Endurance (high number of repetitions with a lighter load)

2-3 sets with 20-30 seconds rest between exercises:

(Complete two entire circuits in the order listed below, then complete the third set for exercises 1, 2, and 7)

3 x 12 reps Goblet Squat → 30s rest

3 x 12 reps Standing Barbell Overhead Press → 30s rest

2 x 15 reps per side Staggered Stance Romanian Deadlift → 20s rest

2 x 15 reps per side 3-Pt DB Row → 20s rest

2 x 15 reps Calf Raise → 20s rest

2 x 15 reps Back Extension → 20s rest

3 x 20 reps Deadbug  → 20s rest

Cool down:

Once the workout is complete, cool down with some static stretches. This type of stretching helps with flexibility and involves a 15-30 second hold, which allows the muscles to relax. Some examples include quadriceps stretch, lunge, hamstring stretch, calf stretch, threading the needle, shoulder stretches, etc. 



Pairing aerobic activities, like running with strength training, is an excellent way to prevent injuries. Getting adequate quality sleep and consuming a healthy diet is crucial to reap the full benefits of any form of physical activity. These two factors are critical in the recovery and rebuilding processes following exercise.

It is also important to note that everyone is different regarding exercise tolerance, so no ideal program works for everyone. But, everyone must apply a heavy load to induce adaptations while also avoiding doing too much too quickly. Certified personal trainers are experts in exercise programming and a great resource if you are unsure where to start your strength training journey.




Gabbett, T. J. (2020). How much? How fast? How soon? Three simple concepts for progressing training loads to minimize injury risk and enhance performance. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 50(10), 570–573. 

Haff, G., Triplett, N. T., & National Strength & Conditioning Association (U.S.) (Eds.). (2016). Essentials of strength training and conditioning (Fourth edition). Human Kinetics.

Llanos-Lagos, C., Ramirez-Campillo, R., Moran, J., & Sáez De Villarreal, E. (2024). Effect of strength training programs in middle- and long-distance runners’ economy at different running speeds: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Sports Medicine. 

Mahaffey, K. (2023, Feb 17). Why should runners add strength training? National Academy of Sports Medicine.