Stretches and Strength Training for Running

by Fiona

stretches and strength training for runners

I have finally found my running regime, and so far so good. Thanks for all your help, so far. I'm running Mon Wed Fri six miles and Tue and Thur I run four miles. This is all on the treadmill. And so far it's going well.

An odd time I get a little ankle pain and I have found I struggle with stretches. I don't know how long should I stretch before I run for and not sure what are the proper stretches.

Also a few people have told me I should do some strength training as well. Do you know what the best strength training exercises are? I'm running a while now and I find the muffin top is very slow to tone up and other parts of me.

Answer by Dominique:

Hello Fiona!
Thanks for reaching out with another great running question. It's heartening to hear about your progress and commitment to improving your running routine.

Now, onto your queries about stretching and strength training for runners:

1. Stretching and the Benefits of Dynamic Warm-Ups
2. Strength Training and Its Benefits
3. Starting Strength Training and "Graduating" to the Weight Room

Stretching and the Benefits of Dynamic Warm-Ups

stretches and strength training for runners

Starting with your concern about stretching, it's a vital part of any exercise, including running. However, what many people don't know is that stretching cold muscles, that is, without any warm-up, can cause more harm than good.

It's advisable to do a more "dynamic" warm-up before your run which includes movements that raise your body temperature and get your muscles ready for a workout. You can include moves like light jogging, high knees, walking lunges or leg swings in your dynamic warm-up.

Once you've finished your run, you could do some more static stretches. I find calf raises and heel drops to be pretty helpful in strengthening the lower legs.

Check out the link for more information about running stretches.

Strength Training and Its Benefits

stretches and strength training for runners

Moving on to strength training, it definitely is a great addition to your running routine. You are doing so great with running five times a week.

Doing some strength training will help tone and strengthen your muscles. It will help you improve your running performance, but will also simply make you stronger and more injury resilient.

And several studies have shown that a combination of cardio and strength training is more effective for weight loss than either of them alone!

Starting Strength Training and Graduating to the Weight Room

stretches and strength training for runners

Wondering how to get started with strength training? I'd suggest beginning with body weight exercises. These require no special equipment and can be done anywhere, anytime. Exercises such as push-ups, squats, sit-ups, planks, and burpees can give you a whole-of-body workout, targeting different muscle groups.

Once you're comfortable with body weight exercises, consider getting some dumbbells or kettlebells and add weightlifting exercises to your routine as well. You could begin with simple moves like weighted squats, rows, overhead presses, and lunges with weights.

Alternatively, do as I did, and hire the help of a personal trainer and get into the weight room. It pays to get professional help. Especially when lifting heavy weights, proper technique is super important. Exercises like squats, lunges and deadlifts are particularly advantageous for runners since they build strength in your legs and core.

Also check out my Strength Training for Runners page with a lot more information about strength training.

Keep up the great work, and feel free to reach out to me for more advice or tips!

Kind regards,

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