A few weeks back I made it to race 5 of the Kembla Joggers Summer XC series and cracked the sub 25 minutes for 5km – just! 24:52 minutes to be exact. I’ve been following the 80/20 rule of training, being that 80% of your workouts should be EASY (really easy) and the remaining 20% should be focussed and HARD… and it’s working! I’ve also been really focussing on my strength training, as I know this is what will keep me injury free and allow me to run faster.
Below are 4 simple strength exercises that are great for increasing strength and speed for runners. It is also important to include different exercises to take your training to the next level by strengthening your glutes, allowing you to generate more power, so you run faster and more efficiently.
I still have a goal of getting under 23 minutes for 5km before the end of the season in February. I know by sticking with the 80/20 rule and completing strength exercises will get me running faster. Along with focussed intervals on the treadmill I’m regularly completing the simple strength exercises below and my running is getting faster.
This is a great exercise as its super simple great for building glute strength. It requires more hip mobility than a glute bridge. Start by completing the hip thrust without weight. Once you’re comfortable completing the exercise with proper control, you can begin to add weight.
Single Leg Deadlift
The single leg deadlift is more specific to runners than the traditional deadlift because it replicates the running movement.
Single Leg Deadlift is an essential injury prevention exercise for runners that strengthens the hips, engages the hamstrings and gets the glutes firing. These are all needed for stabilizing the body while running. Balancing on one leg simulates the one legged activity of running, tests your balance and core muscles. It also reduces strength imbalances between the left and right legs. Doing unilateral exercises is super important too as it helps to even out strength discrepancies in your body.
Squat To Overhead Press
Completing the overhead press is a challenging movement for beginners, as it requires a certain degree of mobility, body awareness, and strength. Not only does this exercise strengthen your glutes and legs, it challenges the upper body too. When completed properly, this movement also engages the core, which is an essential part of good running form. If you’re running with good form, you’re going to be a more efficient, faster runner. Again, complete this first without weight and once you can complete the exercise with control, begin to add weight into the movement.
This plyometric movement increases power output helping you run faster. Plyometrics have been shown to increase the rate of muscle contraction, increase power outputs in athletes, and overall make you a stronger athlete. Tuck jumps are an advanced progression on the popular squat jump. The research is there to back this up! A study by Paavolainen et al., 1999 found that on well trained athletes, substituting just ONE THIRD of their normal running with plyometrics improved the athletes 5k race times.
It is important to remember that plyometric exercises are tough on the body and require a base level of general strength. So ladies, please make sure your pelvic floor is up to this before you dive into this movement!
Let me know below what your running goals are and your go to strength exercises!