Are you relatively new to running and want to get stronger? Have you been running for years but haven’t been able to crack whatever goal pace you’ve set for yourself? Here are a few practical ways to become a stronger, more fit runner. There are no magical pills on this list. There isn’t one weird trick that a housewife in Kansas discovered on the list either. No, this is a list of items that will make you a stronger, better runner as long as you are willing to put in the effort.
1. Dynamic Warmup
I’ve learned that preparing your body before heading out for that run is extremely important. Not only are you warming up the muscles that you will use during your run, you are injury-proofing your body and getting a little stronger to boot. My favorite is the Cannonball routine (yes, it says cool-down on the website, but it can actually function as a dynamic warmup too). Once you learn the routine, it will take you all of 6 minutes to complete. Your body will thank you and your running could improve.
2. Strength Training
Yes, you need to lift weights. Running isn’t just about running, unfortunately. Hit the gym, do crossfit, or run through the 7-minute workout a few times. This will dramatically help your running, and obviously help make you stronger. Aim to add 2 strength training days to your weekly calendar.
Don’t neglect your abs! The group of muscles we typically call the core are some of the most important for a runner. Aim to do 15 minutes of abs 2-3 times a week. My favorite routine is the Jeannette Jenkins Hollywood Ab routine included in the Nike Training Club smartphone app. It will kick your butt and you will be thankful for it.
4. Speed workouts
Every training plan includes them. I’m talking about tempo and speed interval runs. Yes, you know the ones I’m talking about. They’re the ones that you’ve been ignoring. There is a reason they are on your calendar: because they work and they will make you stronger and faster.
Although hill training on its own won’t necessarily make you faster, it will make you stronger and better able to tackle those speed-specific workouts. Whether it’s hill sprints or longer intervals, find a hill and don’t skimp on this ultra-important phase of training.