All about the fitness and health lifestyle
All about the fitness and health lifestyle

Why and How to Add Weightlifting to Your Run Training Program

Last Updated:
October 17, 2023

Why and How to Add Weightlifting to Your Run Training Program

For runners, weightlifting is often a highly contested topic, with many believing lifting weights is detrimental to running training. This is due to the additional weight that muscle mass adds, however, strength training can be beneficial for runners. Below we look at why and how you can add weightlifting to your run training program successfully.

Why add strength training with weights?

The biggest benefit of adding weightlifting to your run training is that strong, coordinated, athletic bodies are less likely to sustain injuries. Additional strength allows for more power output and improves endurance as muscles do not get as fatigued. Another benefit of strength training is the improvement of your running form, built through the stability weightlifting requires.

How to add weightlifting to your run training program

Weightlifting doesn’t necessarily require purchasing weights or attending a gym. Instead, many of the beneficial strength workouts for runners can be done with just your bodyweight, or by using resistance bands and a small set of dumbbells. For example, push ups are a great tricep workout, and squats help to build the quads, glutes, and hip flexors. In fact, bodyweight strength training is low impact, which is a great way to stay strong in the lead-up to race day.

Creating a training schedule

While there is no one-size-fits-all training schedule a good rule is to add in at least two strength training sessions a week. However, it is important to avoid strength training on days you have a hard run. You also want to avoid the day before and the day after as well. This means if you have plans to do sprints or a tempo run on Wednesday, strength training should not happen on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. You should aim to add weightlifting into your training on easy run, or recovery run days. Or, you can choose to add weightlifting on days you don’t run at all, just be aware that this can cause more muscle fatigue as your body does not have a day off.

What weightlifting exercises are beneficial and how do they help?


A good squat works your legs and core while also helping with flexibility in your hips. Stronger legs and core can help your running form, and improve your run time. To perform a squat follow the steps below:

  • Stand up straight with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Keep your back straight and chest upright as you bend your knees. The movement should be similar to sitting in a chair
  • Try to bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then drive upwards from your heels back to the starting position.
  • Count through the squat to ensure you are doing a slow controlled movement, 2 counts down, 2 counts up.

Ideally, you should perform 2 or 3 sets of 15 repetitions.


A lunge works similar muscles to squats but adds more movement to the workout which improves balance. To properly perform a lunge follow the steps below:

  • Stand straight with legs shoulder-width apart
  • While keeping your back straight and chest up, take a large step forward
  • Slowly bend the back knee to the ground and allow your front knee to bend. Your front thigh and back calf should be parallel to the ground.
  • Push up through your front leg back to the original position.
  • Switch legs and repeat. Once again, counting through can help you control the movements, use 2-3 counts down and the same back up.

Perform 2 or 3 sets of 10 repetitions (one repetition is both sides, so 2 lunges).


The plank is a dreaded exercise for many, but is brilliant for building core strength and improving form. To perform a plank, follow these steps:

  • Lie face down on the floor, or on a mat.
  • Place your hands or elbows directly under your shoulders and push up. The only points touching the ground should be your hands or elbows and your toes.
  • Keep your back as straight as possible and tuck your butt in
  • Hold this for as long as possible or 30 - 60 seconds and then lower yourself back to the ground.

Be sure to keep your body as straight as possible to work the correct muscles.

By adding the above weightlifting exercises to your run training program you can ensure your body is strong and ready to perform for race day. Other exercises to add can include push-ups, pull ups, tricep dips, single-leg deadlifts, and lateral lunges.

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