Printable Strength Exercises for runners

Having a physical copy of some printable strength exercises for runners can be a time and life saver on cross training days as a runner! 

Strength training is a super effective way to condition our total body and reduce our risk of injury. 

It can be inconvenient and time consuming though to figure out what to do in terms of strength training when cross training day comes around if we haven't planned in advance what our cross training workout will consist of. 

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I wanted to try to make this a bit easier by giving you a set of free printable strength exercises for runners that contain:

  • a breakdown of the moves, 
  • pictures to show how the moves are done and 
  • two different total body workout options that are designed for endurance runners

These don’t have to just be stand alone strength workouts though. 

You can easily do these workouts as an add-on workout at the end of your run!

We’ll talk more about when to include strength workouts like these into your routine in just a bit! 

Before I hit you with these workouts though, let’s highlight why strength training as a runner is so incredible for your body! 


Benefits of strength training for distance runners

If you are on the fence about strength training and you are a long distance runner, then now is the time for me to give you all the wonderful reasons as to why you really do want to include it in your routine or training schedule! 

All of these benefits really are the best part of strength training!

So get turn your printer on and get ready to print off the printable strength exercises for runners workouts that are included at the bottom of this page!

You can also simply screenshot the workouts if you prefer a digital copy!


1. Prevents injury

Strength Training is an excellent tool for injury prevention, especially if you target and strengthen the muscles and bones that you use for running. 

Long distance running puts you at an increased risk of incurring an overuse injury since you are repeating the same muscle movements over, and over again for sometimes hours on end. 

The risk of these overuse injuries makes strength training such a necessary component of any marathoner, half marathoner or distance runner’s training plan! 


2. Builds strength in connective tissues

Strength training enhances and builds strength in your connective tissues. 

Studies show that an increase in physical activity and resistance exercise also builds stronger connective tissues.

This is important as connective tissues provide:

  • a framework for our bones, 
  • support our organs, 
  • and help to transport nutrients, 

All factors which are essential to our success as a runner!


3. Strength Training builds lean muscle mass

Focusing on building lean muscle mass is critical as we begin to age as having a lean body and lean muscle mass will mean that we have stronger bones that are not thin, brittle and susceptible to injury. 

If we are still a relatively young runner, having a lean muscle mass means that we are built more to handle endurance activities such as running long distances: 10K's, half marathons, marathons & ultra marathons! 

There are so many strong runners who inspire me on the daily when they reach out and share their stories of how they began running in their fifties (so many first time marathoners who choose to challenge themselves and run their first marathon in their 50’s and beyond!) and are the strongest and in the best shapes of their lives in their fifties, sixties and seventies!

That is not just a coincidence! 


Say goodbye to shin splints

Alright, hopefully with these printable strength training exercises you can say goodbye to all injuries!

I specifically mention shin splints though as they are one of the most common running injuries of all especially for new runners, beginners, and those who are trying to increase their weekly running mileage such as when beginning a new training schedule

See this page for more information on shin splints as a runner. 


Builds Bone density

Strength training can increase your bone density and largely impact your bone health!

Having low bone density is related to having weak, brittle bones that can easily become injured.

Strength training boosts our bone density which not only strengthens our bones, builds osteocytes but also protects against osteoporosis and rapid muscle loss as we age.


Reduces muscle imbalances

When muscles are imbalanced, they put a greater strain on other supporting muscles which can again lead to injury.

Therefore, strengthening our muscles helps to build back areas that have suffered from muscle loss due to inactivity which will help us to be a stronger runner.


Enhances our weight loss goals

If you have a goal to lose weight as a runner, strength training can accelerate your goal.

Stronger muscles equate to more calorie burn throughout the duration of the day vs. weaker muscles.

Also the shaping and toning of the muscle that occurs while incorporating endurance strength training exercises (not to be confused with bodybuilding or power strength training exercise) will give you a leaner, more elongated look. 

Here's a step by step plan for jogging for weight loss as a runner if weight loss is one of your goals! 


Areas to focus on as a runner when you are doing a strength workout

With any strength training plan, I like to see all of the major muscle groups targeted in the workouts. 

We should aim to keep our whole body healthy and not focus or obsess over a certain area if we truly have our overall health in mind. 

Strengthening our entire body can also become critical to marathoners whose upper body can even become fatigued over the course of a marathon. 

So yes!

All the major muscle groups of your body should be targeted during any runner’s strength training program. 

The moves included in the printable strength exercises for runners PDF that can be found at the bottom of this page are contained in the two different total body workouts.


Each workout targets all of the major muscle groups which are:

  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Chest
  • Back 
  • Legs
  • +Abs

You could more simply break it down into:

  • upper body, 
  • lower body, and 
  • core

However the abdomen isn’t specifically considered a major muscle group of the body.  I like to add it in as many runners naturally want to include exercises that directly target their abdominals. 


What strength exercises do you want to include as a runner?

As a runner, there are certain areas of the body that you will want to target for functionality and other areas that you will want to target for overall health, well being and maintenance.

In particular, you want to build strong leg and abdominal muscles as these are the areas of your body that will be doing the heavy lifting when it comes to long distance running. 

Specific areas of your lower body that you want to strengthen include:

  • Calf muscles
  • Shins
  • Knees
  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Hips particularly your hip flexor muscles 

You will also want to include some core exercises in order to functionally support your running. 

Running naturally targets and helps to strengthen and support your core. Your body will adapt in this area to help make your core as strong as it can be as a runner.

It is always good though to include a few core exercises that really target this area such as planks, push ups, exercises that target your pelvis (especially if you have had a baby! - Here’s some tips for running during the postpartum phase) and your lower back!

Many of the exercises included in the 2 printable strength exercises for runners workouts that I am sharing with you, directly target the core.


when to include strength exercises into your routine?

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Since weight training is considered an essential exercise staple in a healthy workout routine, it is recommended that you include strength training twice a week for about 20 to 25 minutes each time.

The best time to include strength training into your routine (and probably the most obvious) as a runner is on any cross training day that you might have scheduled. 

For your second strength training day, it would be best to also include it or add it on to the beginning or end of an easy run. 

If you find that strength training is a struggle for you, you may want to strength train before you head out on a run so that you aren’t too fatigued to use proper form which can result in injury.

It is not ideal and can be detrimental to perform a strength workout on a long run day, or a quality running day such as when you are performing a hill repeats workout, tempo run, or interval training workout.

By the way, the best leg strengthening workouts for runners are hill repeat workouts due to their functionality in terms of running and using the very muscles that we want to target and strengthen as a runner! 

Many of my more advanced marathon training plans, such as the Break a Time Goal Marathon Training Plans include a full training block of building strength through hill repeats because it is such an effective way to build leg strength and speed strength as a runner! 

Here is a guide to Hill Training as a runner! 


what equipment will you need for these printable exercises for runners?

The good news is that you don’t need a fancy weight room or any equipment at all to get an effective strength workout in! 

In fact all of the exercises included in the 11 Strength Workouts for Marathoner’s don’t require any equipment at all unless you choose to incorporate weight.

However, if you do want to workout in a weight room, you might enjoy this little guide on strength training in a gym as a distance runner.

The beauty of strength training (and working out in general) is that you really can (and should!) adapt it to make it your own workout that meets you at your current fitness level. 

That means that you have the freedom to use lighter weight or heavy weights, or no weight at all. 

If you are beginning a strength training program, I highly recommend that you start with using just your body weight. 

Slowly begin increasing the amount of weight that you are lifting as you become comfortable with the exercises and they begin to feel easier to you. 

If you want to add strength training equipment to your home arsenal, you might choose to purchase free weights such as a set of resistance bands like these.

The beautiful thing about resistance bands is that they are light weight and pack up lightly if you travel a lot and want to bring them with you!


Printable strength exercises for runners:
pdf download

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Put your email address in the form below and I will send you the fully printable strength exercises for runners as promised! 

This printable contains 2 total body strength workouts that I hope you will enjoy if only to mix up your current routine for a time!

Each has basic strength moves, nothing too fancy, and perfect for the beginner strength trainer or one who enjoys the classic moves. 

The instructions for each workout and each exercise are included on the printable pdf download. 

You will be performing each exercise 12 times for 1 set. Repeat from the beginning for a total of 2 sets and 24 repetitions of each exercise. 


Total Body Printable Strength Exercises for Runners Workout #1

Here is a list of the different exercises that are included in the first total body workout inside the printable strength exercises for runners:

  • Bicep Curls
  • Tricep Extensions
  • Overhead Shoulder Press
  • Wall/Knee/or Full Body Push-up
  • Back Row
  • Superman
  • Basic Squats
  • Basic Lunges (really helps to strengthen those hip flexors!)
  • Standing Leg Front Raises (a great ab/ core exercise but also targets the hip flexors in a gentler way) 
  • Standing Oblique Crunch


Total Body Printable Strength Exercises for Runners Workout #2

Here is a list of the different exercises that are included in the second total body workout inside the printable strength exercises for runners:

  • Tricep Kickbacks
  • Hammer Curls
  • Lateral Shoulder Raises
  • Lying Chest Press
  • Lawn Mower
  • Back Fly
  • Bridge Lifts
  • Deadlifts
  • Sumo Squats
  • Butterfly Kicks
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Planks


quick tip: 

You can easily turn these workouts into strength training circuits by including some aerobic exercises in between each strength move or set!


Sign up to receive the free printable strength exercises for runners here:

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looking for a Strength Training Plan as a half or full Marathon runner? 

If you are looking for an effective strength training program specifically as a marathon or half marathon runner then you might be interested in this Strength Training Plan for Marathoners!

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Here's what you need to know about the Strength Training Plan for Marathoners:

  • it is designed specifically for marathon and half marathon runners
  • it contains a set of completely different 11 workouts 
  • the plan is fully compatible with any marathon training plan and can be used in the gym or as at home workouts that can even be done in your living room!


list of additional printable strength exercises for runners on the site:

Besides the 2 total body strength workouts for runners that I laid out for you above, I also have these other strength workouts that you can find on the site:



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Sources:

STONE, MICHAEL H. “Implications for Connective Tissue and Bone Alterations Resulting from Resistance Exercise Training.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, vol. 20, no. Sup 1, 1988, https://doi.org/10.1249/00005768-198810001-00013.