What type of exercise should runners do?

What type of exercise should runners do?

October 9, 2023

What type of exercise should runners do?

Ascent Total Performance

What Type of Exercise Should Runners Do?

Running can benefit from a range of exercises, including strength training. As a general guideline, start with light weights and gradually increase the amount you lift. Doing this prevents overtraining or injury from occurring.

Cross Training

Cross Training is an exercise style that combines different modes of training outside the athlete’s primary sport. It has become popular with athletes across many sports, particularly runners, due to its numerous benefits.

Cross-training has numerous advantages for runners, such as injury prevention and rehabilitation, speedy recovery times, and decreased burnout. Furthermore, cross-training helps you keep your passion for running alive by keeping you challenged with new activities.

Running can be particularly vulnerable to injuries due to its repetitive nature, which leads to muscular imbalances. By including various activities into their training routines, runners can correct this imbalance and enhance muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility. If you’re experiencing foot or ankle pain, consider visiting our foot and ankle pain treatment page.

Cross-training exercises for runners should include elliptical trainers, stationary bikes, cross-country ski machines, water running and yoga. These movements mimic the muscles used during running and can increase overall strength and endurance.


Yoga is an ideal exercise choice for runners as it builds muscle strength and flexibility in the lower body. Plus, as it’s low impact, you’ll notice improvements in flexibility, mobility, strength and posture as well. If you’re looking for a specialized program, check out our physical therapy for runners page.

Yoga also helps to strengthen the core, increasing its stability and protecting you against common running injuries like runner’s knee and IT band syndrome. If you’re experiencing back pain and sciatica, our back pain and sciatica treatment page may be helpful.

Yoga also enhances breathing, an important aspect of running that many overlook. Being more aware of your breath while running will enable you to regulate your heart rate and pace more easily, enabling you to keep going longer.

Yoga poses can flex and stretch the hamstrings, hips, TFL and quads – all areas that become overworked during running. This helps alleviate tightness that could lead to injuries such as hamstring tearing or lower back pain associated with running.

Strength Training

Strength training, also referred to as weight lifting or resistance training, is an ideal option for runners looking to enhance their performance. It increases lean body mass which directly influences metabolic rate, so you burn more calories throughout the day while optimizing your body composition for running which in turn makes you faster and feel stronger on race days. Visit our physical therapy page for more information.

Strength training not only increases your endurance, but it can also decrease the likelihood of injury. A study found that runners who strength train reduced their injuries by as much as 50%. For those looking to recover from an injury, our sports rehabilitation page may be helpful.

Strength training can range from various exercises, but the focus should mainly be on your lower body and core as these are the muscles that support running. Gluteus, hamstrings, quads, hips – they all play an essential role in running so making sure these areas are strong will help keep you injury-free and move more efficiently.

To get started, pick a routine that works for you and commit to it. Begin with one or two sessions per week and build from there.


Running should prioritize mobility work and exercises to increase joint flexibility and function, so they can move freely without pain or strain. Without mobility even simple everyday activities like stepping over a puddle or picking up a box become challenging and may lead to injury.

Sara Fabbri, director of the Running and Performance Center at The University of Michigan, believes that dynamic muscle movements are the most efficient way to increase mobility. Compared to static stretching – which is commonly used as a form of mobility work – dynamic exercise helps improve range of motion, restore elasticity in joints and lubricate them for easier motion.

Enhancing your training plan with mobility is the best way to maximize performance and avoid injuries. A 10-minute mobility routine is an ideal way to do this every day before or after you run; give it a try and see how it makes your runs feel different; it may even help you run longer and stronger!

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