Strength Exercises for Runners - Improve Your Run With Varied Training

Varied Training
A varied training routine can have a significant impact on improving your running performance. Incorporating different types of workouts, can help to target different energy systems in the body, resulting in increased endurance, speed, and overall fitness. Additionally, switching up your training routine can help to prevent boredom and maintain motivation, making it easier to stick to your running goals.

Interval training

Interval training is a type of cardiovascular exercise that alternates periods of high-intensity activity with periods of rest or low-intensity activity. The benefits of interval training include improved cardiovascular fitness, increased endurance, and better fat burning. For more in depth information on the effects of high intensity interval training check out this study by the British Journal of sports medicine

An example interval training routine:
  • 10-minute warm-up 
  • 30 seconds of sprinting 
  • 30 seconds of jogging or walking  
  • Repeated for a total of 8 rounds.  
  • 5-minute cool-down period. 
  • Timings can be adjusted to include shorter resting periods as fitness increases.

Hill sprints

Hill sprints are a great way to improve running performance and overall fitness. They provide a challenging workout that targets the leg muscles, lungs, and heart, while also helping to build strength and endurance.

One example of a hill sprint routine is as follows:
  • Warm up with a 5-10 minute jog at an easy pace.
  • Find a hill that takes about 15-20 seconds to sprint up.
  • Begin by sprinting up the hill for 15 seconds at maximum effort.
  • Walk or jog back down for recovery.
  • Repeat this sprint for a total of 8-10 repetitions.
  • Finish with a cool down jog and stretching.
This routine can be done 1-2 times per week, with the number of repetitions and the intensity gradually increased over time.

Benefits of hill sprints include:

Building leg strength, specifically in the glutes, quads, and hamstrings
Improving cardiovascular endurance
Increase in power output
Improved running economy and form

Tempo runs

Tempo runs, also known as “threshold runs,” are a type of running workout that are designed to improve a runner’s lactate threshold. This is the point at which the body begins to produce more lactic acid than it can clear, leading to fatigue. By training at or near this threshold, a runner can learn to push through the discomfort and maintain a faster pace for longer.

An example of a tempo run routine is as follows:
  • Warm up with a 10-15 minute easy jog
  • Run at a steady pace that is comfortably hard for 20-30 minutes. This should be slightly faster than your normal easy or steady pace, but not all-out.
  • cool down with 10-15 minutes of easy jogging and stretching.
This routine can be done 1-2 times per week, with the duration and intensity gradually increased over time.

Benefits of Tempo runs include:

  • Improving overall running endurance
  • Increase in lactate threshold
  • Improved running form and economy
  • Increased cardiovascular fitness


Change things up a bit and take to the pool. Swimming can improve your running because it works different muscle groups and improves cardiovascular fitness, which can lead to better endurance and overall fitness. Additionally, the resistance provided by the water can help to build strength and power, which can translate to improved performance on land. Additionally, the low-impact nature of swimming can also be beneficial for runners, as it can help to reduce the risk of injury and improve recovery time.

Weight training

Having a weight training routine can help to improve running performance by increasing muscle strength and power, this can lead to faster running times and better endurance. Lifting weights not only improves your overall fitness making running feel a bit easier but it can help to reduce the risk of injury by strengthening the muscles and connective tissue that support the joints. This can be especially beneficial for runners, as the repetitive nature of running can put a lot of stress on the body. Additionally, weight training can help to boost a runners’ metabolism, allowing them to burn calories even after they finish their workout.


Cycling should be part of a runners varied training program as it builds cardiovascular fitness and endurance. Working the same muscles used in running it can help to increase the strength and power in your legs. This can lead to faster running times and better endurance. Cycling is a low-impact exercise, meaning it can help to reduce the risk of injury and improve recovery time. By incorporating cycling into your training routine, you can give your legs a break from the repetitive motions of running while still challenging your cardiovascular system and building muscle. This can help to improve your overall fitness and make running feel easier and more enjoyable.

Varied training not only allows you to target different muscle groups, challenge your cardiovascular system in new ways, and reduce the risk of injury. Mixing up your training can make your workouts more enjoyable and prevent boredom. Overall, including a variety of activities such as the ones mentioned above can lead to a well-rounded and efficient running program.
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