Gold Stars, Running Police and The Crazy World of Strength Training for Runners

I have had a great week.

4 runs, all designed to build speed and because these are only short runs, the longest being 5k, it has left me with the time and energy to do some quality cross training. This has included aquaerobics (made up mostly of HIIT sessions!), strength training and a fast walk with my mate who should really have been an Olympic walker she is so fast. I have also been really good with my post-run stretching. All in all, I would like a Gold Star from the Running Police please.

I need to be more consistent with my strength training. I have done all the reading and understand why its so important. However I find putting it into practice a bit trickier. Googling “strength training routine for runners” produces 1,300,000 results and I feel like I have read at least half a million of these. They are all different.


Maybe you have 40 to 60 minutes to strength train, but I usually do not. As I am working on speeding up, I am also using my cross training to help build my cardio-vascular capacity and push my lactate threshold. This basically means they leave me knackered (do you have that word outside of Ireland/UK? it means very tired, done in). Even if I did have all the time in the world, I do not have the energy but do want to do the strength training while I am warmed up.

My considerable research on strength training for runners has led me to my Top 10 Lessons about Strength Training for Runners:

  1. I really need to do it in conjunction with my half marathon training or I will end up a crumpled heap on the floor with a hunched back because my core no longer has the strength to hold me upright.
  2. If I did all the different exercises listed as vital, my strength training sessions would each last 2 and and a half days and there would be no time left for running.
  3. No one can explain how I am meant to deal with the DOMs caused by the strength training and STILL BE ABLE TO RUN
  4. I am the only runner who feels the need to strength train my arms, even though I use them all the time when I am running and sometimes they get tired. Very few of the routines seem to even mention arms, let alone include an exercise for them.
  5. I need to use weights. Or I don’t and body weight resistance is fine.
  6. Squats. This is pretty much the only common strength component common to all 1.3 million routines.
  7. I am the only person in the world who hates doing lunges because it makes her toe joints hurt.
  8. Russian twists are the evil invention of The Cyclists, jealous of the fact that the runners are currently winning in the world domination stakes and designed to break us, body and soul.
  9. There are 47 different varieties of the plank and I am not very good at any of them.
  10. Strength training makes me just as hungry as a 1 hour run, even if I only do it for 15 minutes.

So, after all my research, what routine have I decided to follow? Well, I read all 1.3 million and didn’t like any of them 🙂 so I invented my own. Its really simple, very quick and gives a full body workout. I am starting with body weight and will work up to using weights.

2 sets each of 12 reps of  – sumo squats to a jump (great warm up), calf raises, backward lunges with a rotation, Russian twists, push ups, supermans and forward lunges. All topped off with a classic plank for 30- 40 seconds.

The whole thing takes only 15 minutes and is very easy to remember. The squats warm you up and the plank begins a cool down. I plan to do this 3 times a week and build up to 15 reps, then add weights. When time allows I will also include a weighted deadlift.

And this post means there will now be 1,300,001 search results for strength training for runners. You’re Welcome!

P.S. Good luck to anyone running the Dublin Marathon tomorrow. You are all extraordinary and my heros. Maybe one day I will join you. Have a great run.



9 thoughts on “Gold Stars, Running Police and The Crazy World of Strength Training for Runners

  1. I only weight train once a week. Try to keep the weight down (😉) and do more reps as this should reduce DOMS. For the arms how about adding in press ups (ok chest) and sitting – holding appropriate weight (water bottles etc) practice the running action. This also helps to keep your hips straight. For the backs of arms -dips. I am impressed that you are doing any of it at all. Gold star from me. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💪💪

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha all this made me laugh out loud! I find that doing strength training with heavier weights means I have to do less – I do powerlifts like the deadlift and squat and they kill! Also because you have to really brace your core, my abs feel super tight after a lifting workout which is a nice bonus.I’m told they’ll grow slowly but surely 🙂

    What I tried to do before I got into lifting was to tack on strength training at the end of my run. Two days abs, two days legs. As I run commute it often left me squatting in a park by a main road in central london. lol. But it’s; worth a try! As for DOMS, I find my legs respond really well to (very) hot baths. I have them like its a job, since they’re not actually so pleasant and leave me thirsty and sweaty. But I stick some TV on my laptop and just sweat it out!

    Good luck 🙂


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