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Strength Training for Runners: Unlock Speed and Endurance

Strength training is essential for runners as it enhances muscle power and efficiency, leading to improved speed and endurance. Incorporating exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts strengthens key muscle groups used in running, supporting your efforts to enhance your running capabilities.


CW-X’s compression wear can complement this by reducing muscle fatigue and soreness, allowing for quicker recovery and sustained performance. It also helps improve blood circulation, delivering more oxygen to muscles during intense workouts. By integrating strength training and compression wear into your routine, you’ll be able to boost both your speed and endurance.


close up of runner's sneakers getting ready for a long run on track

The Sacred Long Run: Why It's a Cornerstone of Your Training Plan

The Sacred Long Run is a fundamental component in your training plan. It’s the cornerstone for building endurance, strength, and mental resilience. By incorporating extended runs into your routine, you not only enhance your aerobic capacity but also prepare your body to sustain longer efforts, reduce injury risk, and improve overall performance.


Introduction to Strength Training for Runners

Strength training involves exercises designed to improve muscle strength, endurance, and overall physical performance. It typically includes resistance-based activities such as lifting weights, using resistance bands, or performing bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups. The primary goal is to enhance muscle function, increase muscle mass, and improve overall physical fitness.


Strength training is essential for any runner who wants to enhance muscular strength, stability, and endurance. It develops core stability, balance, and power, leading to better running efficiency and faster recovery. Integrating it into your regimen creates a more robust and resilient body, capable of handling long-distance running and rigorous training.


male athlete strength training for running

Benefits of Strength Training for Runners

Some of the benefits of strength training for runners include, improved speed, increased endurance, injury prevention and better running economy.


Improved Speed

Building muscle strength can lead to faster running times by enhancing the power and efficiency of each stride. Stronger muscles generate more force, allowing runners to cover more ground with each step. This increase in power and propulsion leads to improved speed during runs.


Increased Endurance

Enhancing muscular endurance enables runners to maintain performance over longer and longer distances. Strength training improves the muscles' ability to sustain prolonged activity, reducing fatigue and allowing runners to keep a steady pace for extended periods of time.


Injury Prevention

Stronger muscles provide better support for joints and bones, minimizing the strain and impact that can lead to injuries. By working on muscle strength, runners can prevent common injuries like shin splints, runner’s knee, and IT band syndrome.


Better Running Economy

Strength training improves running economy by optimizing the energy expenditure for a given pace. Stronger muscles use less energy to perform the same movements, leading to more efficient and economical running. This allows runners to conserve energy, enhancing overall performance and endurance.


male athlete strength training with dumb bells to prepare for a run in stabilyx 3/4 tights

Key Strength Training Exercises for Runners

Key exercises targeting the legs, core, and upper body can provide a balanced approach to developing the necessary strength and stability for effective running. Here are some essential exercises every runner should consider including in their weekly routine.


Leg Exercises: Squats, Lunges, and Calf Raises

Leg exercises such as squats, lunges, and calf raises are fundamental for runners. Squats and lunges build strength in the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, which are vital for powerful strides and stable running mechanics. Calf raises focus on the calf muscles, essential for propelling the body forward and improving running speed and endurance.


Core Exercises: Planks, Russian Twists, and Leg Raises

Core exercises, including planks, Russian twists and leg raises, play a significant role in maintaining proper running form and stability. Planks enhance overall core strength, supporting the spine and reducing the risk of lower back pain. Russian twists target the obliques, improving rotational strength and balance, while leg raises strengthen the lower abdominal muscles, crucial for hip stability and leg movement.


Upper Body Exercises: Push-Ups, Rows, and Shoulder Presses

Push-ups build chest, shoulder, and triceps strength, contributing to better posture and arm drive. Rows target the back muscles, aiding in maintaining an upright posture during runs, and shoulder presses strengthen the shoulders, enhancing overall upper body stability and reducing fatigue.


male athlete strength training his upper body climbing up a rope

Integrating Strength Training into a Running Routine 

By carefully balancing strength exercises with running workouts, you can achieve a well-rounded fitness regimen that supports your overall running goals. Here’s how to effectively incorporate strength training into your weekly schedule, along with tips for maintaining balance and adjusting intensity.


Sample Weekly Training Schedule

A balanced weekly training schedule might include three days of running, two days of strength training, and two rest or active recovery days.

For example:

  • Monday: Easy run
  • Tuesday: Strength training (legs and core)
  • Wednesday: Interval run
  • Thursday: Rest or active recovery (yoga, stretching)
  • Friday: Strength training (upper body and core)
  • Saturday: Long run
  • Sunday: Rest or light activity (walking, cycling)


Tips for Balancing Running with Strength Training

To avoid overtraining, it’s crucial to balance running with strength training. Start with lower intensity, gradually increasing as your body adapts. Ensure adequate rest and recovery between intense sessions, and listen to your body to prevent burning out or injuries.


Adjusting Strength Training Intensity

During peak training phases or leading up to a race, focus on maintaining strength with lower weights and higher repetitions to avoid excessive muscle fatigue. In off-season or base-building periods, increase intensity and volume to build a solid strength foundation. Always align your strength training with your running objectives to optimize performance and recovery.

runner checking stopwatch on track

Testimonials and Expert Opinions

Shalane Flanagan, Olympic Medalist and Marathon Champion, explains how strength training has been a crucial component of her routine, contributing to her resilience and overall athletic success. Flanagan also highlights the role of cross-training, such as pool workouts and yoga, to give her body a rest from the repetitive strain of running, which helps her stay injury-free and maintain peak performance.


According to Alberto Salazar, Renowned Running Coach, “Strength training is essential for runners to enhance performance and prevent injuries. It builds the muscle stability and strength needed for efficient running mechanics"​


female athlete strength training in stabilyx 3/4 tights

CW-X Gear Recommendations

Any serious runner knows that compression wear goes hand in hand with improved performance and faster recovery time. CW-X has a wide assortment of compression wear for both running and strength training. For instance CW-X’s Stabilyx Joint Support Compression Tight features a patented EXO-WEB support panel to map your joints to provide support and stability without restricting your body's range of motion. These tights, among many of CW-X’s other compression wear, work at improving blood circulation, reducing muscle fatigue and distress, increasing muscle support, and minimizing muscle damage during intense workouts.


You can benefit from wearing compression gear during both your summer and winter runs. Compression tights have added benefits during those cold winter runs. Check out all the ways your strength training can benefit from compression wear and how to get the most out of your workouts here.



By dedicating a few days each week to targeted exercises for your legs, core, and upper body, you can significantly enhance your running performance, prevent injuries, and build a resilient, balanced form. Start integrating strength training today and experience the transformative impact on your running and overall health. Incorporate CW-X compression wear into your running and strength training routine, to keep your muscles and joints safe while enhancing your performance. From compression sleeves to compression shorts, your confidence and capacity will reach new heights. 


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