Why Should You Strength Train

What’s Included?

  • Why is strength training important?
  • How much should you do?
  • Areas of focus for runners

Why Is Strength Training Important

There are SO many ways to improve as a runner, and adding strength training and cross-training to your normal weekly routine can be a great way to support your running goals & keep making progress. Strength training has numerous benefits for runners including:

Improving running economy & efficiency. Basically, helping you to run easier for longer with less effort.

Reduces your risk of getting injured. And who DOESN’T want to avoid injuries?

Improves balance and coordination. And it can also help even out any muscle imbalances you might have.

Improves power and engages fast-twitch muscle fibers, which can help to give you that extra BOOST of speed.

How Much Should You Do?

While specific amounts will depend upon both where you’re starting from & your own personal goals, there are a few guidelines that we can follow as runners

If You Are New To Strength Training

You should seek to start with exercises that build balance & stability before moving onto exercises that focus on strength & power. Focusing on balance movements will help you to identify any areas where you’re needing to focus your strength work on. In addition, if you are new to strength work, you should start out with just a few short sessions without added weight (use just your body as resistance). Start with lower reps, amounts of time per rep, and number of exercises & gradually build up.

You Don’t Need That Much

In a study quoted by the UESCA running program – resistance training just one day a week was shown to maintain lean muscle mass and increase power output. Strength and resistance training does not need to be a daily part of your training – even just a few times per week can lead to gains. If you are new, starting with just 1-2 times per week is suggested. As you continue to make progress and work towards specific goals, you can safely increase.

How to Increase

Muscles adapt faster to strength work than your connective tissues – which means that even though your muscles might be benefiting, your body cannot support that load if you increase too quickly. With this in mind, progression with strength work should be extremely gradual. You can slowly increase amounts of time, weight, speed, and repetitions throughout the weeks. Exact amounts of increase will depend upon your own goals and your body.

What Areas Should You Focus On?


Working your calves will help to support your achilles and increase stability & power in running.


You can strengthen the arch of your foot to increase stability, power, and propulsion from the ground (that spring-like movement).


Your core structure supports your entire body & it is CRUCIAL for maintaining balance during running (if your core is strong, you have less risk of injury during small missteps). Your core also stabilizes your spine & holds your body upright – which is important for maintaining neutral running positions.


Glutes are extremely important for runners because they help to provide power and maintain form in running. The glutes also help to prevent knee and leg injuries by stabilizing us during running.


Obviously your legs are important for running – your leg muscles work together to move you forward. Strengthening your leg muscles will help you avoid injuries & make you a stronger and faster runner.

Strength training is an important part of becoming a life-long runner because it offers the stability and strength you need to stay safe and injury-free – while also offering the benefits of increased power, stamina, strength, and speed over time!

Amy Haas
Run with Aim, LLC
UESCA Certified Running Coach
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
NASM Certified Nutrition Coach