Simple Strength Routine for the Busy Runner

For when it's easy to get the miles in, but strength training feels like a slog, here's a quick but effective strength workout. Complete this routine once or twice a week for injury prevention and general fitness. It takes only 10-15 minutes, and it works specifically on strengthening your core and glutes, key areas for a successful runner. And, best of all, there is no equipment needed! Just use your own body weight and an optional exercise mat. 

The Moves

Squats: stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips square and to the front. Slowly sink down, as if you are sitting on an imaginary chair. Lower down so your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your knees above your ankles. Push through your heels to bring your body back to a standing position. Repeat. 

Alternating lunges: keep your upper body straight and tall, step forward with one leg, lowering your hips and forming a 90-degree angle with the floor. Do not extend your front knee over your ankle. Push up through the heel to come back to a standing position. Repeat, alternating right and left legs leading forward. 

Push ups: lie flat on the floor and line up your hands underneath your shoulders. Keep your back straight and raise and lower your body from the floor by pressing through the palms. These may be done on the toes, on the knees, or using a wall for support.

Tricep dips: position yourself on a bench or a chair, with your hands balancing on the edge behind you and your bottom off of the plane. Raise and lower yourself, keeping your arms tucked in close to your body. Make sure to keep your elbows bent slightly to keep the tension on your triceps and not strain the elbow joints.

Hip bridges: lie on your back on a mat or the ground. Bend your knees and slide them in towards your body. Push up through the heels to create a straight line from your knees through your torso, hold for a beat, and come back down to the ground. Repeat.

Front forearm plank: lie face down on the ground, as you would for a push up. Raise yourself up on your toes or knees, tucking your forearms down in front of you for stability. Make sure to align elbows with shoulders and keep your back flat. 

Side planks: start on your side with your feet and legs stacked together with one forearm tucked underneath your shoulder. Raise your body off the ground until it forms a straight line. You may also choose to do this exercise with your knees stacked for extra stability. Do this for both your left and right side. 

Front plank with hip dips: using the same position as a front plank, drop your hips down slowly towards the ground, alternating between the left and right sides. Go slowly and aim for a flat back and stable hips.

Complete each move for 30 seconds, resting for approximately 15 seconds in between. Repeat the set of exercises two to three times, stretch, and get on with your day! 

Colleen Beatty is a wife and mama, as well as a lifelong runner and Catholic She grew up in the hills of Southwestern Wisconsin, just across the road from her beloved red brick Catholic church, and wore out her running shoes on gravel roads before moving south to attend the University of Dallas. Under the hot Texan sun, she ran four years of track and field, as well as cross country, and she received her bachelor of English there in 2015. She now lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, teaches fitness classes, and coaches track and cross country, all while chasing after her very active little boy.