Do your running workouts merely consist of running? As runners we can probably guarantee that our strongest assets are our legs! When we run we are strengthening and toning them with every step. It’s easy after putting in so many miles to end our workout with a cool down and call it a success.
In fact, every run that you complete is a success. It is a choice that you made to be healthy and stay on target with your goals! Our goals though are precisely what we need to keep in the forefront of our mind. Is running simply enough for us?
The short answer is...probably not. We need to be adding variety to our running workouts if we want to grow, gain fitness, see change, and improve! We can add variety as a runner by doing hill repeat workouts, repetition runs, intervals, fartleks, tempo runs, long runs, and short runs.
All of this variety is good (especially if you are looking to get faster or maybe break a marathon time goal) however the focus is still on the lower body.
We need to remember that the upper body - arms, chest, back, abdomen - play a large role in our life as a runner. To strengthen these muscle groups means to strengthen your running, to help make that marathon pace feel easier, to perfect your running form, to increase your efficiency. I know you’ve all seen those runners who have the lean runner’s legs but above the waistline they look like they have never worked out a day in their lives. They are simply neglecting a key element to a runner’s lifestyle and that is to achieve overall fitness while increasing their ability to...run!
I know what you are already thinking! “I don’t have time to add another part to my running workouts!” I hear you! I don’t have the time either. Which is why I like to focus on maximizing my time while I am already working out and target those muscles that are not being used while I am running so that I can maintain a certain level of upper body fitness. I do it by incorporating a short routine that I designed - The No Weights 5 Minute Upper Body Add-on Workout - at the end of my short runs.
This short sequence is done at the end of your runs when you are already warmed up. It just takes an extra 5 minutes but it does a double duty job since it will help to bring your heart rate down a bit and start the cool down process.
Here is the sequence that you will want to complete to zone in on your upper body:
Here are all beginner level exercises:
Repeat the sequence twice.
Here is a more advanced sequence:
Repeat the sequence twice.
With either of these circuits you will effectively target your arms, shoulders, chest, back and abs! It really just takes 5 extra minutes of your time. Try to add this workout to the end of at least 2 of your runs every week! Starting this week!
I made you this little printable to print off or screen shot so that you can have convenient access to it after your next run!