Strength and Conditioning for Runners – 2 Days Beginner Plan

This article discusses why strength and conditioning is important for runners and how should beginners incorporate it into their routine.

Running is probably the most common form of exercise and competition; it has many races of different lengths and levels of toughness. From short sprints to long-distance marathons to highly demanding trail runs; all kinds of races require unique training and preparation.

Knowledge about these diversities in the styles of running races and the need for good training at proper levels can provide a source of knowledge to runners at all levels to achieve improved performance and meet their goals in fitness. Along with practicing the desired distance for the run, it is equally vital to include strength and conditioning to your routine.

Types of Running Races:

  • 100, 200, 400m: These are sprint distances. Runners generally go all-out, trying to run the distance in the shortest amount of time possible.
  • 800, 3000m: These are the middle-distance events in which the runner has to be running near their maximum pace but not going all out.
  • 5k, 10k: Ideal beginner distances; they can start with a walk-jog and gradually move to run the distance at a stretch. Experienced runners usually use these distances to improve their pace.
  • 21k, 42k: These are for experienced runners and require a proper training and nutrition plan.
  • Ultramarathons: Anything more than 42 km, but distance and terrain vary from race to race.
  • Trail and Obstacle Runs: These involve many more components than just running. For instance, with grass, mud, and water terrains, the obstacles are composed of rope climbs, monkey bars, up-and-over walls, and mud crawls, among others.

Importance of Strength and Conditioning in Runners:

Whether it is a specific race type, make sure to train for the distance of the race while incorporating strength and conditioning training into your workout. The latter helps you in several ways:

  • Injury Prevention: Allowing tissues to be prepared for the application of specific stresses helps tissues bear the load. In the event that the muscles are not ready, you may end up with aches and pains that may cut back on your progress in running. Strength training provides forces that your muscles generate to run efficiently and comfortably.
  • Performance Enhancement or Maintenance: Strength and conditioning helps one in improving running economy, stride length, power, and increasing the number of fatigue-resistant muscle fibers (type I), which enhances the quality of your runs.
  • Longevity of Running: Proper training ensures you can run effectively and enjoy the sport for many years.

How to Get Started:

The best way to start running is slowly. It’s crucial to give your body time to adjust to the new physical activity. Before you begin, it’s important to have any existing aches and pains identified and treated, as this can help prevent further injury. This will also allow you to address any underlying issues that may affect your running in the long term.

Incorporating stretching and strengthening exercises into your routine can be beneficial for beginners. Focus on exercises that target the key muscle groups used in running, such as the gluts, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Additionally, incorporating core-strengthening exercises can help improve posture and stability while running. Remember, consistency is key, so aim to incorporate these exercises into your routine regularly to build strength and endurance.

  • Frequency: Two times per week
  • Duration: 40 mins to 1 hour per session
  • Intensity: Begin at a low intensity and focus on form, preferably with the guidance of a coach or professional

What to Include:

  • Upper body, lower body and core exercises
  • Cross Training: Swimming, Biking
  • Active recovery day: Foam rolling, deep tissue release, ice baths

Here is a sample plan that you could use as beginner runner for your strength training workout:

ActivityExerciseSets/Reps/Duration
Day 1Warm-UpLight Jogging or Brisk Walking5-10 minutes
Dynamic Stretches5-10 minutes
Strength TrainingSquats3 sets of 12-15 reps
Push-Ups3 sets of 10-12 reps
Plank3 sets, hold for 30-45 seconds
Lunges3 sets of 12-15 reps per leg
Bent Over Rows3 sets of 12-15 reps
Russian Twists3 sets of 20 twists (10 per side)
RunningEasy-Paced Running or Walk-Jog Intervals20-30 minutes
Cool-DownWalking5-10 minutes
Static StretchesHamstrings, Quads, Calves, Hip Flexors
Static StretchesShoulder, Upper back, Mid back, Lower back
Strength and Conditioning Training Plan for Beginner Day 1
ActivityExerciseSets/Reps/Duration
Day 2Warm-UpLight Jogging or Brisk Walking5-10 minutes
Dynamic Stretches5-10 minutes
Strength TrainingDeadlifts3 sets of 12-15 reps
Overhead Press3 sets of 10-12 reps
Side Plank3 sets, hold for 20-30 seconds per side
Step-Ups3 sets of 12-15 reps per leg
Bicep Curls3 sets of 12-15 reps
Bicycle Crunches3 sets of 20 reps (10 per side)
RunningEasy-Paced Running or Walk-Jog Intervals20-30 minutes
Cool-DownWalking5-10 minutes
Static StretchesHamstrings, Quads, Calves, Hip Flexors
Static StretchesShoulder, Upper back, Mid back, Lower back
Strength and Conditioning Training Plan for Beginner Day 2

Conclusion

In summary, strength and conditioning integrated into a runner’s training is very critical to the enhancement of performance, preventing injuries, and the well-being of the athlete in general. Related running mechanics, core stability, and muscular endurance may be improved alongside better-running economy and resiliency in the athlete.

Sustainable strength training does not only supplement the aerobic requirements during running but also counteracts muscular imbalances that, in many cases, lead to overuse injuries. In the long run, a holistic approach to fitness will allow runners to reach their full potential and ensure that their running careers last long and prove successful.

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